Sunday, May 15, 2022

Few Oconee County Voters Opting For Democratic Ballot In Early Voting For May 24 Primary

***Contrast With May 2018 Election***

After 12 days of early voting, 2,516 of Oconee County’s 32,034 registered voters have cast a ballot, with 2,204, or 87.6 percent, using the Republican ballot, and 306, or 12.2 percent, using the Democratic ballot.

At the end of early voting in 2018 in the county, 72.5 percent of the ballots cast were in the Republican Primary, and 26.9 percent were in the Democratic Primary.

The Oconee County Office of Elections and Registration has issued 488 absentee ballots and received and accepted 185. The party of those absentee ballots is not reported in the data released so far by the elections office.

Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday in the Office of Elections and Registration, 10 Court Street, across from the Courthouse in downtown Watkinsville.

In the 2018 primary election, 9.6 percent of the county’s 28,284 registered voters participated in in-person early voting. That compares with the 7.9 percent who have cast a ballot so far in early in-person voting for the May 24 election this year.

In-person voting on election day will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 24 at the county’s eight precinct voting locations.

Under the new elections law, voters can no longer request an absentee ballot, but absentee ballots received by 7 p.m. on May 24 will be accepted.

Contested Races

The only contested local election is in the Republican Primary, where Ryan Hammock, Julie Mauck, and Elliott Rogers are seeking the party’s nomination for Post 3 on the Board of Education.

Georgia does not have registration by party, and voters are free to ask for the Democratic, Republican, or solely non-partisan Judicial ballot for the May 24 election.

Only six voters so far have used only the non-partisan judicial ballot. The Democratic and Republican ballots also contain the non-partisan judicial ballot.

In 2018, no local Democratic Party races were contested, but the Republican Party had a primary contest for Post 2 on the Board of Education.

In 2018, both the Democratic and Republican parties had hotly contested state races for governor at the top of the ticket.

Stacey Abrams is running unopposed in the Democratic Party Primary for governor this year, while incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp is being challenged by four candidates, including former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.

In the end, 74.5 percent of the voters in Oconee County choosing a partisan ballot in 2018 voted in the Republican Primary, and 25.5 percent voted in the Democratic Primary.

In the 2020 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 65.9 percent of the vote in the county, and Democrat Joseph Biden received 32.4 percent of the vote.

Early Voting

Early voting in 2018 stretched over 16 days, including one Saturday.

Click To Enlarge

Under the new election law, early voting this year will consist of 17 days, including the last two Saturdays.

The election changes enacted last year restrict absentee balloting, which accounted for 1.3 percent of the votes cast in the county in 2018 in the Republican gubernatorial race and 2.3 percent of the votes cast in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Early voting so far this year has hovered around 200 votes cast per day, with the exception of May 7, the first of two Saturday voting days, when only 124 voters cast a ballot, and Friday, when 317 voters cast a ballot.

In 2018, the two peak days for early in-person voting were the last two days, and half (50.1) percent of the votes were cast in the final week of early voting.

If that pattern holds, the level of early voting this year will exceed the level of early voting in 2018.


Jennifer Stone, Assistant Director of Elections and Registration, told me on Monday morning (5/16/22) that of the 488 absentee ballots issued, 148 (30.3 percent) were with the Democratic ballot, 337 (69.1 percent) were with the Republican ballot, and three were with the Non-Partisan ballot.

Of the 185 absentee ballots returned, 49 (26.5 percent) were Democratic, and 136 (73.5 percent) were Republican. None of the returned ballots were Non-Partisan.

If those absentee ballots are included in the vote totals for the first 12 days of early voting, 13.2 percent of the ballots returned or used for in-person voting were Democratic, and 86.6 percent were Republican.

In addition, through a clerical error, one of the Democratic ballots on the first day of early voting had been labeled as Republican.

The staff at the Board of Elections and Registration had corrected the error in subsequent reporting, but I had used the original figures in my post. 

Rather than 306 Democratic ballots cast in-person, the figure is 307. And rather than 2,204 Republican ballots, the actual figure is 2,203. I used the correct number is the percentages immediately above.

Four absentee ballots have been returned but not yet "cured." One had an incorrect date of birth, one had an incorrect drivers license, and two had missing signatures, Stone told me on Monday.

Stone said that the voters have been notified and have until 5 p.m. on May 27 to address the problem.

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