Three-week advance voting period set to begin Dec. 14
Members of the Bartow County Board of Elections and Voter Registration voted Wednesday afternoon to set the advance voting dates for the United States Senate and Georgia Public Service Commission runoffs slated for Jan. 5.
Advance voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at two locations — the elections office headquarters at 1300 Joe Frank Harris Parkway and the Cartersville Civic Center at 435 West Main St. — Monday-Friday from Dec. 14 until Dec. 31.
Advance voting will also be held on one Saturday date — Dec. 19 — at the elections office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If the voter turnout volumes are high enough, Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said the local office may also open up the Cartersville Civic Center for Saturday voting.
For the time being, there are no plans to open up advance voting polling places in Adairsville or Acworth. Kirk, however, said those locations may be opened for advance voting depending on turnout numbers.
“I’m having a hard time sort of pegging what the turnout’s going to be for this January’s runoff,” Kirk told the board. “I don’t want to offer advance voting locations and then take them away later on.”
Board member Dexter Benning said he anticipates the turnout for the runoff elections to be as high as the turnout for the presidential election.
“If the control of the Senate comes down to Georgia, there’s going to be a lot of media attention on this,” Kirk said.
With that in mind, board member Janet Queen said she would rather err on the side of caution and have too many polling places open than too few.
“The last thing we want is long lines out when we’ve got plenty of time to prepare for this at this point in time,” she said.
Kirk noted that keeping the Cartersville Civic Center open for advance voting is projected to cost about $1,100 per day.
“If there was ever a year to go over on our budget, it’s this year,” he said. “There was a facilities project that went over budget, COVID has pushed us and the absentee by mail ballot process has really pushed the budget this year.”
In other business, the board also voted to appoint the poll managers for the Adairsville City Council runoff election. The polling place at 163 Manning Mill Road will be open on Election Day (Dec. 1) as well as Nov. 23-25 for three days of advance voting.
Advance voting for the Adairsville City Council runoff is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the polling place will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 1.
The board also voted to recertify the results of the 2020 presidential election — albeit, for 22 ballots in particular.
“The audit did not necessarily change any results, but in the course of the audit we discovered that we did not count some votes for some certified write-in candidates,” Kirk said.
He said that teams that were adjudicating ballots prior to the election were working off an outdated list of write-in candidates. “When we did the audit, we noticed that there were some names we didn’t already have votes for,” Kirk said.
That included 14 votes for Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and two votes each for America Solidarity Party presidential candidate Brian Carroll, independent Jade Simmons and Party for Socialism and Liberation and Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidate Gloria La Riva.
Two other certified write-in candidates received one vote each in Bartow — Constitution Party nominee Don Blankenship and one independent candidate whose legal name is President R19 Boddie.
As for the results of the presidential election audit ordered by Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Kirk said he plans to post the full tally sheet online at www.bartowga.org/departments/elections
“Everything came back within a 0.1% margin of error, those numbers have not been released officially yet,” he said at Wednesday’s public meeting. “I was already confident, but I’m even more confident saying the system operated properly, we counted the votes accurately, because we have now gone back and checked.”