Early voting off to light start

May 1—VALDOSTA — Early voting is off to a modest start in Lowndes County, an elections official said Wednesday.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, only 645 votes had been cast at the Lowndes County Board of Elections office, the sole spot in the county for walk-in early voting, said Tiffany Linkswiler, assistant superintendent of the elections board.

"It's pretty light," she said. "No wait at all."

She said it would be hard to project how heavy voting would turn out in the end; the last major election the office had to deal with was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Traditionally, the early weeks are light, and the last week is heavier," she said.

The current elections are primaries with some nonpartisan spots as well. Together with "yes-no" party questions, the full slate of ballots takes up three large yellow sheets, though individual voting ballots will be smaller because they will be restricted to elections within a particular voting district, Linkswiler said.

Advance voting will end May 17; the final day to vote, May 21, will see voters showing up at their assigned precinct election spots.

With 159 counties in Georgia, each responsible for running its own elections, there are 159 elections running side-by-side, said Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger.

"This requires people with great skill sets," he said during a visit to Lowndes County's elections office Wednesday.

He was in town to honor the Lowndes County Board of Elections with the EAGLE Award, meant to showcase counties that have exhibited "excellence in their operations, recognizing achievements in Election Security, Innovation, Accuracy, Accessibility, and Voter Education," according to the secretary of state's website.

Accepting the award was county elections supervisor Deb Cox, who said "It takes a massive team to do a successful election."

Terry Richards is the senior reporter for The Valdosta Daily Times.