Thousands cast early votes in Dougherty County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thousands cast early votes in Dougherty County

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

October 21, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Early voting started earlier than ever this year in Georgia and that has led to huge early turnout. The Secretary of State expects a million Georgians to vote before election day.

You can't miss the signs in downtown Albany telling you to 'vote here' in red, white and blue.  Betty Williams is following directions.

"I was just driving by and I just stopped to vote," said Williams. She's a faithful voter. "Oh I've been voting ever since I was 18, and I'll be 75," said Williams.

This year Williams is voting early in downtown Albany.  "Well I always come out and vote early," said Williams.

She's joined by dozens of others with the same agenda this election. Lines are steady and even long at times at the Riverfront Center.  The flow is keeping poll workers busy.

"It's going wonderfully well. We're having 5 to 6 to 700 a day to vote," said Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Carolyn Hatcher.

As of a little after 4 Tuesday afternoon, about 6,300 people had voted early and more than 1, 900 people mailed in absentee ballots.

The lines are nowhere near the amount of people waiting at polling places in Florida and other parts of Georgia. Still, Hatcher is impressed and surprised by the early turnout so far in Dougherty County.

"Yes I am. I know there will be a big turnout for the election. This will actually take some of the pressure off on election day," said Hatcher.

The pressure is exactly what James Reddick was avoiding. It's his first time voting early. "It feels great to get out and exercise your right to vote and I think everyone should look forward to that," said Reddick.

Betty Williams agrees. That's why she doesn't wait until the last minute to step in the booth. "What makes me vote early? It's more convenient for me. When you get to be my age, you don't want to be in a crowd all the time," said Williams.

On November 4th, she and the other early voters can sit back while others make a mad dash to make a decision.

In Albany you can vote at the Riverfront Resource Center next to the Riverquarium on Pine Avenue from 8:30 to 5, Monday through Friday. Early voting ends October 31st.

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