When heading to the polls for the Aug. 11 runoff, voters can expect relatively short lines and the same COVID-19 precautions taken in the June primary, according to Lori Wurtz, Hall County’s elections director.
Wurtz said Friday morning that the county had received about 7,600 absentee ballots for the runoff, and 2,279 people had voted early in person through the end of the day Thursday. Polls close Friday at 5 p.m. for early voting and will not reopen until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Election Day.
In Hall, the runoff includes Republican and Democratic races for the U.S. House of Representatives seat for Georgia’s Ninth District, as well as a Republican runoff for the Georgia Senate District 50 seat.
Republicans Andrew Clyde and Matt Gurtler and Democrats Devin Pandy and Brooke Siskin will compete Tuesday to be on the Ninth District ballot in the Nov. 3 general election. That district includes all of Hall.
Republicans Stacy Hall and Bo Hatchett are competing to run in November for the state Senate District 50 seat, which includes part of East Hall. The winner of that race will face Democrat Dee Daley in November.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the county has made some changes at polling places. Sneeze guards will be installed where voters check in with poll workers, social distancing will be enforced and hand sanitizer will be available as voters enter and leave the polling place, Wurtz said. Poll workers, who will wear masks, will also disinfect machines between voters.
“The voters are really good about wearing a mask to vote, and we want to encourage them to continue to do that,” Wurtz said.
Wurtz said in the June primary, many voters brought their absentee ballots to polling places to turn them in and vote in-person instead. She said this is also expected for the runoff, and poll workers are prepared to help voters surrender the ballots.
The county elections office needs to receive absentee ballots by 7 p.m. Tuesday for those ballots to be counted.
Although ballots can be mailed in, the county has a drop box for ballots located outside the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. The box is outside the front doors of the government center and can be accessed from the driver’s side window of a vehicle.
To find their polling place for Election Day, voters can call the elections office at 770-531-6945 or go to the Georgia Secretary of State Office’s My Voter Page site. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Wurtz said the only polling place change is in Lula, where voters who previously went to Lula City Hall will now go to First Baptist Church of Lula, located at 5167 Maiden Lane. This change was also in effect for the June primary to allow more space for social distancing.