Polls close

May 19, 2014 

  • ELECTION INFORMATION

    To find your voting precinct or sample ballots, visit www.sos.georgia.gov/MVP.

    There are a number of forms of identification that are acceptable at the polls. Below is what qualifies:
    • Georgia driver’s license, even if expired
    • Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including voter ID cards issued by the county registrar’s office or the Department of Driver Services
    • Valid U.S. passport
    • Valid federal or state employee photo ID
    • Valid military photo ID
    • Valid tribal ID

Polls across the Middle Georgia and the state closed at 7 p.m. but people in line will still be able to vote.

Below is an earlier version of this story. Return to macon.com for updates.

Voters across Middle Georgia and the rest of the state are choosing candidates Tuesday for local, statewide and federal elections.

Voting got off to a lackluster start in most Bibb County precincts, but voting had been steady through noon at Lake Wildwood, said Veronica Seals, chief registrar for the Bibb Board of Elections.

"It's slow, but everything is going fine," Seals said just before 12 p.m.

At the Howard 4 precinct at North Macon Park, few people were waiting at 7 a.m. and only 17 people cast ballots in the first hour.

"We know our regular folks that come on their way to work and that's the way we know it's down," said Melanie Brown, poll manager.

Macon State College rising senior Philip Swicegood is a regular early-morning voter.

"I believe that as many men that have died for our right to vote, it is the least we can do to honor them," said Swicegood, 23. "It's one of the basic things a citizen can do."

He was particularly interested in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

"I voted for Karen Handel because I think she is the most qualified conservative," he said.

Swicegood also cares about who will be running Georgia's public education.

"Common Core really is not good, so I voted for Nancy Jester for state school superintendent," Swicegood said.

Brown expects turnout to pick up around lunch and between 3 and 5 p.m., traditionally when crowds vote at her precinct.

In the three to four years she's managed Howard 4, turnout has been about 50 percent of the 1,400 registered voters, she said.

At the East Macon 1 precinct, John Bryant tried to be first in line to vote, but the 74-year-old retired building inspector had to settle for third.

"It's very important to be here bright and early to get out of the crowd and sit back, relax and watch the returns come in," said Bryant. "I had made my choice early by listening to the candidates and what I think is best for the community."

About seven people were waiting to cast a vote at 7 a.m., said EM-1 poll manager Wilysha Glover. Polls will remain open until 7 p.m. People in line when polls close will still be able to cast a ballot.

"Usually we don't have people waiting, so that's why I think it's going to be a good turnout," said Glover, who has managed that precinct for the last four or five years. "It looks like it will be pretty steady."

After the initial push, voters trickled in one by one at the precinct off Emery Highway.

At Ingleside United Methodist Church on Ridge Avenue, voting was steady. By 9 a.m., 85 people had turned out to cast ballots.

Often, there's a line waiting to vote when the precinct opens, one poll worker said. But that was not the case Tuesday.

Men and women trickled in, filled out the requisite paperwork and were ready to vote within minutes. The entire process took five minutes for some voters.

To find your voting precinct or sample ballots, visit www.sos.georgia.gov/MVP.

There are a number of forms of identification that are acceptable at the polls. Below is what qualifies:

• Georgia driver’s license, even if expired

• Any valid state or federal government-issued photo ID, including voter ID cards issued by the county registrar’s office or the Department of Driver Services

• Valid U.S. passport

• Valid federal or state employee photo ID

• Valid military photo ID

• Valid tribal ID

Below is an earlier version of this story. Return to macon.com for updates.

By PHILLIP RAMATI and GRANT BLANKENSHIP/Telegraph staff

After a lackluster turnout for advance voting, Macon-Bibb County elections chief Jeanetta Watson is hoping for better tidings Tuesday.

It’s difficult to predict, though.

“Right now, I’m just not sure,” she said. “Maybe all of the graduations and proms have died down. I’m not saying that those were the reasons people didn’t vote, but things like that can play a role” in not voting.

Just over 4,550 people voted early in Bibb County, while about 700 absentee ballots were requested, Watson said. Across Georgia, 239,281 people voted early -- 147,995 in Republican races, 88,316 in Democratic races and 2,970 in nonpartisan races.

Before the polls open across the midstate at 7 a.m. Tuesday, about 260 election workers in Bibb County will have checked and double checked equipment and procedures to make sure there are no hiccups.

Lisa Marie is in charge of packing the supply bins for each Bibb polling place. Though there are plenty of items to keep up with, she says that isn’t the real challenge of the job.

So what is it?

“The influx of people, when everybody tries to come in and get their stuff,” she said. ”We’ve made some changes, so now everybody is having to relearn what’s in the bin.”

At the other end of the room Monday, longtime poll workers Sammy Diggins and Melinda Mansker were busy running down the list for their precinct, Howard 5 at Lane Elementary School.

“One bag of rubber bands,” Diggins called out.

“Yes,” Mansker said.

“One letter opener,” Diggins said.

“Yes,” Mansker replied.

“One each tape -- scotch, painter’s, masking,” Diggins said.

“Yes,” Mansker answered.

Though poll workers get paid, Diggins said that isn’t her main motivation.

“I enjoy it. I feel like it’s my patriotic duty to do it,” she said.

As the pair ran down the list, Mansker kept her eye on the clock, comparing their check-in time to their previous record of 30 minutes. How did they do Monday? All supplies accounted for ... in 40 minutes.

“But we didn’t rush today,” Mansker said.

Local, statewide and federal elections will be at stake Tuesday. During the 2010 primary, only a quarter of Bibb County voters -- about 20,165 -- cast ballots.

Watson said none of the technical issues that plagued last year’s elections have affected this year’s voting.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334. To contact writer Grant Blankenship, call 744-4534.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service

Top Jobs

View All

Find a Home

$689,000 Macon
5 bed, 6 full bath. One of Macon's treasured historic estates...

Find a Car

Search New Cars