Between in-person absentee and mail-in absentee, 15,885 votes have already been cast in Bartow. Although a lot of people have already placed their votes, Bartow County Election Supervisor Joseph Kirk expects a similar turnout to that as 2008, which means polling places may be crowded.
“We had a 71 percent turnout in 2008, of that over half voted before election day. This time, we had half the voting period to do that in and we didn’t hit the same numbers. I’m expecting about the same turnout — maybe not 71 percent exactly, but those kind of numbers. So we’re looking at nearly a 50 percent turnout [today],” Kirk said.
Kirk reminds voters to bring photo identification with them. If a voter does not have the necessary identification or if another issue arises over a voter’s registration, voters will be asked to fill out a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will be reviewed within three days following the election.
Election officials also remind voters that no form of campaigning can be conducted within 150 feet of a polling place, which includes signs and stickers on vehicles. Polling managers will have an arial photo of their polling place indicating the 150-foot perimeter.
“Basically, it’s real simple, you can’t campaign in any way, shape or form within 150 feet of a polling place or within a polling place. That includes verbally or campaign paraphernalia — T-shirts, stickers, hats, buttons, brochures. Just saying, ‘hey vote for so and so,’ or why you want to vote for someone — all of that behavior is prohibited within 150 feet of a polling place,” Kirk said. “We’re not trying to disenfranchise anyone with this, we’re just trying to keep a fair playing field.”
Polls will close at 7 p.m. today. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, but voters are reminded that being inside the building is not the same as being in line. At 7 p.m. a poll clerk will stand at the back of the line and residents arriving after the clerk enters the line will not be able to vote.
To find which polling place to report to, visit www.sos.georgia.gov/mvp. In Emerson, voters living within the city limits will vote at South Central Middle School for the general election ballot, but will have to visit Emerson City Hall to participate in the special election regarding freeport tax exemption.
In Taylorsville, city residents will vote for both Taylorsville mayor and the general ballot at the old Taylorsville fire department. Polk County residents within the city of Taylorsville, however, will vote in the general election at their Polk County polling place and at the Bartow County Board of Elections Office, 105 N. Bartow St. in Cartersville, for Taylorsville mayor.
For more information, call the Bartow County Board of Elections Office at 770-387-5098.