The first week of early voting went off practically without a hitch, said elections officials.
“All of the training and all the preparation has paid off,” said Assistant Elections and Registration Supervisor Christina Redden. “We’re already setting records.”
As of 4 p.m. Friday, the Glynn County Board of Elections had received over 6,100 mail-in ballots and 8,600 in-person votes, Redden said. She expected in-person ballots to easily exceed 8,700 by the end of the day.
Already, voting activity is much more intense than in the 2016 and 2018 general elections, Redden said. Part of that can be attributed to a growing list of active voters, but she doesn’t believe that’s the only reason. There could be many, including efforts by local groups to boost turnout.
“We have more registered voters, but we don’t have significantly more registered voters,” Redden said.
The board of elections had just over 61,000 active registered voters on file Friday, 64,000 when including inactive voters.
Overall, the election has proceeded smoothly in Glynn County. A short period of sluggish performance in the statewide voter check-in system caused some waits, Redden said. Monday saw long wait times in the morning, but she said it was an outlier because people were lined up to vote before the polls opened.
Outside those two instances, wait times have typically been under 15 minutes during the busiest hours.
She also credited poll workers and managers. All current poll managers worked with the machines during the June primary election, and the poll workers who didn’t were extensively trained.
“The poll workers are pretty much experts in the machines by now,” Redden said. “I feel very confident in our staff at all three (early voting) places.”
One surprise was the turnout at the Ballard Community Building, the county’s newest early voting location. Glynn County Fire Station No. 2 on St. Simons Island usually draws the largest number of voters.
“Word is out at Ballard,” Redden said. “People keep calling. They live out on (Harry) Driggers (Boulevard) or in Sterling and are so glad we opened the one in Ballard.”
The number of voters is split by roughly a third at each location — Ballard, the Office Park Building in Brunswick and Glynn County Fire Station No. 2.
Voters have been very well-behaved, she said. Poll workers have seen no improper activity at the polls.
“Everything we’re hearing in the national news that we should be afraid of does not apply to Glynn County,” Redden said. “We have great people here.”
Early voting in Glynn County runs Oct. 12-30 at three locations: the Office Park Building at 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick, the Ballard Community Building at 30 Nimitz Drive and on St. Simons Island at Glynn County Fire Station No. 2, 1929 Demere Road.
All three will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24.
All voting precincts will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are in place at all locations. The local election board and the Georgia Secretary of State ask all voters to keep a six-foot distance from others and to wear a face mask.
Poll workers will abide by those rules and regularly clean voting equipment.