Locked voting machines sit idle and ready to go at the precinct at Phoebe Convenient Care Monday. Poll workers were busy Monday scurrying across town making sure all of the precincts throughout Dougherty County were set up to handle what is anticipated to be a large election-day crowd.
ALBANY, Ga. — While there was no voting Monday in Georgia, behind the scenes at precincts across the state poll workers were scurrying to get machines set up, signs posted and all of the other pre-election work that is required finished before the masses turn up to vote at 7 a.m. today.
According to Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, more than 1.8 million votes were cast during the advanced voting period, with Dekalb County having the state's highest voter turnout with more than 160,000 votes cast.
In Dougherty County, more than 15,800 people took advantage of the early-voting period before it ended on Friday — a number that was shy of the 2008 record-turnout.
That number, however is nearly 30 percent of the active voters in Dougherty County and likely foreshadows a busy election day for poll workers.
The local races throughout the region will also likely pull in voters. Contested races in Worth and Lee County are expected to spur voters to the polls, as will a hotly contested race in Dougherty County for the county's at-large school board race.
Ginger Nickerson, the supervisor of the Dougherty County Elections office, said that turnout was impossible to predict, but emphasized that poll workers prepare for large crowds.
There are more than 53,000 active registered voters in Dougherty County and another 6,000 who are inactive but eligible to vote. With 15,800 who have already cast ballots, Nickerson says that thousands could show up to the polls today.
Nickerson says that poll workers are being instructed on how to handle long lines; to allow those over 75 and the infirm to be ushered to the front of the lines, and on tips for making sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
On Monday, poll workers criss-crossed the county, setting up voting machines, pulling out voter registration rolls and placing signs warning candidates about campaigning within a pre-determined distance of the poll.
At Phoebe East on Monday, the room where voting machines and tables had been set up sat eerily quiet — a rare moment of calm before the anticipated election-day rush.
Phones at the downtown voter registration and elections office were ringing nearly non-stop for much of the day as people called to see which precinct they had to report to and to ask questions about issues ranging from absentee ballots to registering to vote.
By late afternoon, the voice mail for the office was full.
Those who don't know where their polling place is also can go to the "My Voter" page on Kemp's website (http://mvp.sos.ga.gov) or go to this article at www.albanyherald.com for a link to the secretary's website.