Monday, May 25, 2020

Republican Ballots Dominated First Week Of Early Voting In Oconee County, But Democratic Ballots More Pronounced In Absentee Counts

***Early Voting For June 9 Election Continues Tuesday***

Nine out of 10 of those who participated in the first week of In-Person early voting in Oconee County used the Republican ballot, but less than two-thirds of those who had turned in an Absentee ballot by the end of last week had used the Republican ballot.

Early In-Person voting has been light, with only 533 persons showing up at the Board of Elections and Registration Office across from the Courthouse in Watkinsville to cast a ballot by the end of the day on Friday.

Voting with an Absentee ballot has been heavier, with 3,873 persons turning in a ballot that way.

Overall, 4,406 of Oconee County’s 30,457 registered voters have cast a ballot In-Person or via Absentee for the June 9 primary and nonpartisan races.

Of the ballots cast, 30.3 percent were in the Democratic Primary, 67.7 percent were in the Republican Primary, and 2.0 percent were in the Nonpartisan judicial elections alone.

Early voting will continue on Tuesday and is being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays until June 5 at the Elections and Registration Office, 10 Court Street, across from the Courthouse.

Early voting also will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 30.

Voters must social distance, and workers are wearing protective equipment.

Turnout And Ballot Comparisons

The June 9 election is a combination of the postponed March 24 presidential primary as well as of the party primaries and nonpartisan elections originally scheduled for May 19.

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Fran Leathers, director of Elections and Registration for Oconee County, said in an email on Friday that her office has issued 9,291 absentee ballots, of which 2,892 (31.1 percent) were Democratic and 6,102 (65.7 percent) were Republican.

Her office issued another 297 Nonpartisan ballots (3.2 percent).

The 4,406 ballots returned or cast in person so far represents only 14.5 percent of the county’s registered voters. (This is a correction from the initial post, which did not include the In-Person votes in the computation.)

In 2016, when the presidential primary was not merged with the state party primaries, 6,743 of the county’s then 22,255 registered voters cast a ballot, or 30.3 percent.

If all of the voters who asked for an absentee ballot either turn in the ballot or come in and vote in person, 32.3 percent of the voters would have cast a ballot even if no one else shows up for in-person voting.

Party Comparisons

In 2016, when both the Democrats and Republicans had a U.S. Senate race in the primary, only 351 Oconee County voters cast a Democrats ballot, while 6,240 voters cast a Republican ballot.

So Democratic ballots already far exceed the number cast locally in 2016, while Republican ballots so far are less than half the count from four years ago.

In the 2018 Gubernatorial election between Republican Brian Kemp, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Libertarian Ted Metz, Abrams received 6,015 votes in Oconee County (29.0 percent) to 14,480 (69.8 percent) for Kemp and 249 (1.2 percent) for Metz.

Both parties have a long way to go to get those kinds of numbers of votes cast for the June 9 elections.

On election day, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Nonpartisan judicial races will be decided on June 9 unless there is a need for a runoff.

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