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Early turnout exceeds predictions
About 1,900 came out each day this week to vote
Voters line up for the last chance to participate in advance voting Friday at the Hall County Elections Office. Registered voters who haven’t voted can do so on Election Day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. - photo by Tom Reed

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See our Voters Guide for key information you need, plus a link to sample ballots. On Election Day, check back throughout the day for updates on voting traffic at local polls and all night long for election results as they come in.

Before the polls open on Tuesday, at least one-third — and likely more — of Hall County’s registered voters already will have cast their ballots.

As the early voting period ended at 5 p.m. Friday, more than 100 voters waited patiently at the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office on Browns Bridge Road to cast their ballots.

Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, interim director of elections, walked the line in the shopping center sidewalk checking the photo IDs of voters and putting them one step ahead in the balloting process.

"It’s been very steady today," Sosebee-Hunter said. "It seems like half the voters in Hall County have been to our office this week."

Not quite half, but by the time the early, advance and absentee voters are totaled, the number is likely to be between 35 and 40 percent of Hall County’s 85,000 registered voters.

Sosebee-Hunter said the typical wait on Friday was about an hour. She predicted Friday’s turnout would exceed this week’s average of 1,900 per day, but a complete total won’t be available until Monday.

By early Friday, some 1.77 million Georgians had voted — 31 percent of the state’s 5.6 million registered voters.

Before the polls opened on Sept. 22, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel predicted a 25 percent early voting turnout.

Judy Love of Gainesville said she came out Friday in anticipation of bigger crowds and longer lines on Tuesday.

"I’m a little anxious about this election," said Love, who had waited about a half-hour in line.

Standing next to Love was Jill Hall, who said her primary interest was the presidential election.

"I think its going to be a very close election, and I want make sure the candidate I feel is best has every chance," Hall said.

Elections officials in Northeast Georgia have said this week that early and advance voting has been popular with the voters in their counties. In Forsyth County, there were five early voting locations available, and Jefferson and Habersham counties also had multiple locations. Officials in those counties and other surrounding counties in Northeast Georgia said they anticipated from 25 percent to 40 percent turnout prior to Election Day.

White County, with seven local ballot questions to consider, already had 40 percent voter turnout by midweek, according to Lisa Manning, chief voting registrar.

"We’re really proud of it, and our voters have done really well here, getting out and going to the polls and knowing what they’re voting on," she said.

Glenda Ferguson, Dawson County’s chief registrar, said voters there have been really pleased with early voting.

"People have been just bragging about early voting, about how easy it is," she said.

Because of the popularity of early and advance voting, some polling places have been plagued by long lines and computer glitches in recent days, especially in densely populated metro Atlanta. Hundreds of voters in southwest Atlanta waited in line until nearly 10:30 p.m. Thursday because of computer problems at an one advance voting site.

Throughout the state Friday, elections officials reported steady crowds and no notable problems.

Robert Quigley, spokesman for Cobb County, said the average wait there has been about two hours this week. Lines were a little longer Friday as Georgians raced to get their voting done before the deadline.

"It’ll be interesting to see how long that lasts with today being Halloween," Quigley said Friday.

Janet Munda, elections supervisor in Cherokee County, said there’s been a surge in requests for mail-in absentee ballots.

"It’s been very hectic," she said.

At one downtown Atlanta voting site, the line wrapped all the way around the block and down the street. Some in it were sporting Halloween costumes.

Mike Scott, a 40-year-old contract electrician, said he waited four hours. He said he wasn’t taking any chances.

"My biggest fear was not being able to vote," Scott said.

Friday was also the last day by which voters may request a mail-in absentee ballot. Those ballots must received by county elections officials by the time the polls close on Election Day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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