Chatham Co. sees nearly 30% jump in early voting numbers

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 5:40 AM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - More than 16,000 people have already cast their ballot early in Chatham County.

Those numbers are record breaking for the county and there are still nearly two weeks left in the early voting period.

That 16,000 voters is about eight percent higher than the last presidential election in 2020 and about 28 percent higher than the last midterm election in 2018.

This is just the first full week of early voting in the county across their five locations.

Early voting will still be open in the county every day until Friday, Nov. 4.

While it is hard to predict how the rest of early voting will go, the Board of Registrars in Chatham County says they are encouraged by the numbers so far.

“Part of the reason I think the turnout for early voting has been so good is word has gotten out that wait times are much lower than they were in 2020, 2020 has some technological challenges at the outset that I think may have caused some voters to avoid the early voting period, we have seen those problems, in fact the wait times are great,” said Chatham County Board of Registrars Chair Colin McRae.

Those are anywhere between five to 30 minutes, with the early morning right when they open usually being the longest wait times.

In addition to the state races and local races, there are a few questions you will have to answer as well.

The unique part about the questions on the ballot is you are deciding on the issues themselves, not selecting a representative to decide those on your behalf.

There are four “yes” or “no” questions on the ballot for all Georgia Voters.

Two of them are amendments to Georgia’s Constitution.

The first one on the ballot, “provides for suspension of compensation of certain state officers and members of the general assembly.”

To help us break down exactly what that means, political science professor at Georgia Southern, Dr. Kimberly Martin, says it applies when a felony indictment is handed down.

“That public officials who have been indicted on a felony and suspended from their office would no longer receive their paycheck or benefits from the state,” she said.

Amendment number two on the ballot would, “provide for temporary local tax relief after disasters.”

Dr. Kimberly Martin says this just gives local government more flexibility to help after a natural disaster.

“So, this is just a way for local governments to temporarily make the decision to allow homeowners to get some relief for their property taxes.”

There are also two state referendums on the ballot. That’s because the Georgia Constitution mandates any changes to property taxes be approved by the legislature, the governor and the voters. Both of these passed nearly unanimously with bipartisan support.

Now voters have to decide:

Referendum A – which says that timber equipment would be exempt from property taxes.

Referendum B – says that dairy equipment and eggs would also be exempt from property taxes.

“And a lot of this came from family farms, so if two family farms joined together and co-oped together and they are sharing equipment with each other, the legislation doesn’t feel like you should have to pay property taxes on that equipment.”

These are all “yes” or “no“ questions that will be on the ballot, so be sure to do a little research before heading out to the polls.