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Expect company if you vote early
Early voting wraps up today
Chris Gumpert casts her ballot at the Hall County Elections office Thursday. - photo by Tom Reed

Coming Sunday

A look at why this year’s primary may be more popular for voters than in years past.

Hall County Elections office

Where: 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contact: 770-531-6945

Early voting wraps up today for what could be, based on ballot action so far, a busy general primary election on Tuesday.

Voters have streamed into Hall County’s elections office since early voting began July 8, elections director Charlotte Sosebee said Thursday.

“It’s been pretty steady,” she said. “I’m excited, very excited.”

The turnout comparison between the general primary in 2008 and this year is stark. In the 45-day period of 2008, Hall had 1,836 voters total. Some 2,000 voted in the first week alone in this year’s primary, and the office has seen nearly 5,000 total so far, Sosebee said. She is hoping for a turnout of 35 percent on Tuesday, or about 29,000 voters.

Early voting began July 9.

The races are the same, such as Hall County Board of Education and Board of Commissioners.

“The only thing different is the TSPLOST,” Sosebee said.

And that could be a big drawing card for potential voters, especially given its nature — an additional penny-per-dollar sales tax for transportation improvements — and huge play in the media and among supporters and opponents.

Also, five men are vying for the open Hall County sheriff’s seat. Steve Cronic is stepping down after three four-year terms.

North Hall resident Donna Moss, voting Thursday at the elections office, said she believes the primary is drawing interest for several reasons.

“It’s the political climate right now. There’s so much at stake,” she said. “I think people are wanting a change and I think they’re invested in that. And TSPLOST is a very important issue.”

Others who cast ballots on Thursday said they took advantage of early voting mainly for convenience’s sake.

Julie Wingate of North Hall, accompanied by her 7-year-old daughter Ellie, said she won’t be able to vote Tuesday, but she felt it was important to flex her civic duty.

“It’s very important that everybody votes,” she said.

Early voters need to keep in mind that the elections office has moved from its old location off Browns Bridge Road across from Skelton Road to the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, in the old Liberty Mutual building off Browns Bridge and McEver roads.

“One of the great things we have in this office is we were able to provide a more private compartment for the voters to vote in,” Sosebee said.

Employees took partitions left behind by Liberty Mutual to create voting areas.

“We just kind of made lemonade,” Sosebee said, smiling.

She added there was a bit of panic “when we first found out we were moving ... in an election year.”

Also, if you vote today at the elections office, remember to bring photo identification, such as a driver’s license, U.S. passport or voter ID card issued by Hall County or the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

For those opting to vote Tuesday, Sosebee advised residents to double-check their voting location.

“A lot of locations have changed,” she said. “A lot of voting districts have changed. I had a voter a few minutes ago who thought she was in (commission) District 4 and she was — before redistricting.”