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About 8,000 Hall County voters cast their ballots this week for the presidency and local races, according to Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee, a larger-than-expected turnout for the first week of early voting.
The average wait time topped out at about 30 minutes, she added.
The pace in the first week of early voting matches or exceeds turnout in 2008 and 2012, Sosebee said.
“I really did not expect this number this week,” she added. “I don’t recall it being like this” in 2012.
There are 108,645 eligible voters in Hall this election cycle.
Sosebee said her initial estimate for total voter turnout in Hall come Election Day was 69 percent. But now she is adjusting her prediction higher, saying she wouldn’t be surprised to see it reach 76 percent, which would equal turnout in 2008.
Sosebee said despite high turnout in the first week of early voting, her staff and poll workers are well equipped to handle more.
The elections office has benefitted from special purpose local option sales tax revenue, which funded new voting machines, poll books and scanners to check identification, along with additional poll workers and voting locations.
There are 18 voting machines now available at the Hall County Government Center, up from 11 last year, and four are set aside for the elderly and disabled.
Early voting continues at the government center Monday through Friday. On Saturday, Oct. 29, voting will be held there as well as at the East Hall Community Center, North Hall Community Center and Spout Springs Library.
“I think we’re ready,” Sosebee said. “We got our stuff together.”