Fewer in-person ballots have been cast in Hall County so far in the Jan. 5 U.S. Senate runoff than in the same time period in the Nov. 3 general election — but not by a huge amount.
Paige Thompson, Hall County elections coordinator, said that 21,438 ballots had been cast at the four polling locations as of Wednesday, Dec. 23.
In comparison, some 25,092 ballots were cast between Oct. 12 and Oct. 20, the first seven days of early voting in the general election, Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said.
And it’s been busy at polling locations.
“We have received reports of an approximately 30-minute wait time at the Spout Springs Library for early voting,” Crumley said.
The county has four locations open for early voting: East Hall Community Center, 3911 P Davidson Road, Gainesville; North Hall Community Center, 4175 Nopone Road, Gainesville; Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch; and 100 Brenau Ave., Gainesville.
Voters can cast their ballots between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays through Thursday, Dec. 31. Voting will not be held Thursday, Dec. 24, or Friday, Dec. 25.
Paige Thompson, Hall County elections coordinator, also said that 20,742 absentee ballots had been issued as of Wednesday. The total number of ballots that have been returned and accepted is 11,784, she said.
A comparison of those numbers to ones during the same period in the general election weren’t available Wednesday.
Hall County’s elections board set the early voting hours at a Nov. 24 meeting. Board members wanted to balance the need to accommodate voters who work during regular business hours with staffing needs at the county. Elections Director Lori Wurtz said some regular polling workers will be unavailable because the early voting period falls during the holiday season.
Wurtz had first proposed voting at the four locations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., citing the shortage of poll workers. County Attorney Van Stephens said the county is required by state law to hold early voting at at least one location during business hours, although business hours are not defined.
Wurtz said people can call the elections office at 770-531-6945 if they would like to become a poll worker.