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Voters flood office on last registration day
Hundreds cast their ballots early
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A long line begins to form as residents line up to participate in early voting or register to vote at the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office on Monday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Click here to find out more about today's live debate blog.

Click here for video: Watch voters talk about why they decided to vote early.

 

Travis Dodd registered to vote Monday at the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office, planning to cast his vote for the first time since he became eligible to vote 22 years ago.

It was not the charisma of a candidate that compelled Dodd to register, however.

"I’m married to a woman that is very political and believes that you should vote in every election," Dodd said of his decision to register Monday.

Dodd was one of many people who flocked to the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office on the last day to register to vote in Georgia.

Employees at the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office were busy all day Monday, fielding phone calls and accommodating last-minute registrants and early voters, interim director Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter said.

On Monday afternoon, a line of people waiting to register to vote spilled onto the sidewalk of the Browns Bridge Road office. Even people who were already registered to vote were stopping by the office just to make sure there were no surprises on Election Day.

"You name it. They’re coming in to register, to make sure their names are on the voter’s list ..." Sosebee-Hunter said.

But many were coming in to take advantage of the early voting period, which started two weeks ago.

More than 400 people voted at the Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday, Sosebee-Hunter said.

The number of people who voted Monday was higher than last week, she said.

"Friday was busy, but nowhere near as busy as it is now," Sosebee-Hunter said two hours before polls closed Monday. "At 5 o’clock on Friday, we had processed a little over 500 applications for people to vote. We probably have 600 (so far today)."

Despite the spike in turnout, Sosebee-Hunter said people didn’t wait more than 10 or 15 minutes to vote Monday.

"It hasn’t been too bad," she said.

Voting for the first time, 18-year-old Jake Poteat, took advantage of early voting Monday so that he would not have to worry about using an absentee ballot.

"I’m moving to New York and didn’t want to have to deal with mailing in a ballot," Poteat said.

While some people said they chose to vote early Monday because they will be away from their polling locations on Election Day, others said they were choosing to vote now because of busy work schedules.

"I work for UPS, so it’s hard for me to be able to stop working to vote," said Terry Swindle, a 45-year-old Hall County resident.

"I was off (Monday) so it was just easy for me to go in and vote."

Other Hall County residents such as Latisha Brown, who have already chosen a candidate, wanted to avoid a large crowd on Election Day.

"I decided to vote early because I knew that it was going to be such a big crowd (on Election Day)," said Brown, a Hall County retiree.

"I would encourage other people to vote early, too, because it’s a good use of your time, and you can avoid the long (Election Day) lines."

Although Dodd could have cast a provisional ballot when he registered on Monday, he decided to wait, because he still had not decided on a candidate.

"I watched a little bit of the debates, but it’s still up in the air," he said.

Although Monday was the last day for voters to register in Georgia, Sosebee-Hunter said it will take a couple of weeks to determine how many voters in Hall County like Dodd registered to vote in time for the presidential election.

"The applications will be processed later, because they’re coming in and we’re still processing applications from last week. And the mail is massive so we’re still processing those," Sosebee-Hunter said.

Early voting, including the week of advance voting that begins Oct. 27, will continue through Oct. 31. The Hall County Elections and Voter Registration Office, located at 2285 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville, is open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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