New voting process culminates Tuesday night -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New voting process culminates Tuesday night

November 2, 2004

Albany-- This year's election has proven to be an important one. Not only is it a year for heated presidential debates, but this is the first year voters in Georgia were able to cast a vote a week early.

Here in Dougherty County, advanced, absentee and today's votes will merge togther at the voter registration headquarters.

Voter Registration phones are ringing off the hook. "The same ones," said Election Administration Assistant Ginger Nickerson. "Everybody wants to know if they've registered where they can vote."

And then there are walk-ins.  "I work in Florida, but I'm registered to vote here and so I forgot where I was , with less than three hours to vote. "Heading to the poll and then to the airport."

 Meanwhile, absentee ballots are being flown in by mail. Those ballots will merge with more than 4,000 advanced voting ballots.  "We will open the absentee ballots after seven P.M.." said Election Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher. "The ones that are mailed and we'll actually feed those, those are paper ballots, optical scan ballots feed those in the machine and get that results."

And if a voter passed away before polls opened up this morning. "We will challenge those or cancel those ballots, yes," Hatcher said.

But what's going to take the longest to count are provisional ballots. When voters claim they did register, but are not found in the system. Hatcher said, "We will check those out and have at least two days to do that, so by Friday we'll have those official results. We will not have official results until we count those provisional ballots."

"They will bring their cards in, their memory cards after they have run their tapes and gotten the results posted on the door then they'll bring their memory cards in and we'll load them on the server so we can get an accumulated vote counts."

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