The Glynn County Board of Elections has already received more mail-in ballots than past runoffs, continuing a trend that began after the COVID-19 outbreak reached Georgia.
As of Thursday afternoon, the elections office had around 9,200 requests for absentee ballots from Glynn residents, hundreds of which were already returned.
“We’ve already accepted more than the last (runoff),” said Assistant Elections and Registration Supervisor Christina Redden.
While in line with the primary and general elections earlier this year, the number of requests is quite out of the ordinary compared to past years.
In 2018, 783 ballots were cast by mail, according to election records. In 2016, 91 cast a mail-in vote and in 2012, 273 did so. No races in the 2014 general election went to a runoff.
Registered voter count has increased slightly but continues to fluctuate, Redden said.
Several hundred applications remain, but Glynn County has roughly 450 more people registered to vote than it did in the Nov. 3 general election. Registration for the Jan. 5, 2021, U.S. Senate and Georgia Public Safety Commission runoffs closed on Monday.
“I wouldn’t interpret these numbers as people who are brand new in Georgia,” Redden said. “A very small amount of our intake of applications are actually brand new people. Most of those are people who moved here intrastate.”
Some are certainly new Georgia residents, but many more are likely to be residents from other counties moving into Glynn, those who registered early and are now turning 18 — state law allows registration information to be filed in advance at 17-and-a-half years old — and drivers who earned or renewed their license.
Even if someone is already registered, the Georgia Department of Driver Services still sends in registration information when a license is issued or renewed, Redden said, which the elections office weeds through to remove duplicates.
The number is not likely to change much as some Glynn County residents are also moving away.
“It’s going to stay fluid until everyone is done processing their applications,” Redden said. “We could talk about this number every day. Sometimes it’s going to be higher, sometimes it’s going to be lower.”
Early voting begins Monday and ends Dec. 31 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 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The polls will not be open on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, or New Years’ Day, Jan. 1, 2021.
All voting precincts will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 5.
Glynn County residents can vote in all three races.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock took the most votes in the November general election but failed to reach the 50 percent needed to win. Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue took a narrow lead over Democrat Jon Ossoff in the general election, but neither reached 50 percent.
The third runoff race for Public Service Commission pits Republican incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald against Democrat Daniel Blackman.
Voters can check their registration status or find their polling place by visiting www.mvp.sos.ga.gov. Absentee ballot requests can be submitted via ballotrequest.sos.ga.gov or the Glynn County Board of Elections office, 1815 Gloucester St. in Brunswick. The elections office can be reached at 912-554-7060.