Sunday, February 25, 2024

Turnout In Presidential Primary In Oconee County Light After First Week Of Early Voting

***Few Mail Ballots Returned So Far***

Fewer than 2 percent of Oconee County’s 32,969 registered voters cast a ballot in the first six days of early in-person voting for the March 12 Presidential Primary by the end of the day on Saturday.

Another 62 voters had returned a valid mail ballot, for a total vote of 668 votes cast to date, or 2.0 percent of the eligible voters.

Of the 606 early in-person votes, 519 were in the Republican Primary, or 85.6 percent, while the remaining 87 were in the Democratic Primary.

Of the 62 returned and accepted absentee mail ballots, 39, or 62.9 percent, were Republican ballots, with the remaining 23 Democratic Primary ballots.

The county has issued a total of 180 absentee by mail ballots, and of the 117 still outstanding, 83, or 70.9 percent, are for the Republican Primary, and 34 are for the Democratic Primary.

One Republican mail ballot was returned and rejected because it was missing identification information.

March 1 is the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot for the March 12 Presidential Primary.

Early in-person voting for the Presidential Primary will continue on Monday through Saturday of this week and Monday through Friday of the week before the Primary at the County Administrative Building, 7635 Macon Highway, north of Watkinsville.

Turnout Comparisons

The circumstances for each Presidential Primary are different, so meaningful comparisons are difficult to make.

In 2020, the Republican Primary involved an incumbent, while the Democratic Primary was open, but the Presidential Primary was interrupted and then merged with a rescheduled General Primary/NonPartison Election on June 9 because of COVID-19.

Turnout in Oconee County was 48.3 percent, with 53.7 percent of those votes cast by Absentee by Mail and 14.1 percent Advance in Person.

In 2016, with competitive races in both the Republican and Democratic Primaries, turnout in the March 1 Presidential Primary was 53.7 percent, with 1.4 percent Absentee by Mail and 22.6 percent Advance in Person.

Advance voting and absentee ballot regulations also have changed for 2024 as a result of laws passed by the General Assembly following the 2020 election.

Voting Details

Early voting began on Monday with 82 voters casting a ballot.

That number increased to 121 on Tuesday, 120 on Wednesday, 106 on Thursday, and 110 on Friday.

Only 67 voters cast a ballot on Saturday, the first of the two mandated Saturday voting days in the 17-day early voting period.

To date, the county has issued 10 absentee mail ballots to military and overseas voters and received and accepted three and issued 170 regular absentee ballots and received and accepted 59.

One request for an absentee mail ballot was rejected.

The Republican Ballot contains 11 names, with only Nikki Haley and former President Donald J. Trump still actively campaigning.

The Democratic Ballot contains only three names, with incumbent President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Dean Phillips campaigning.

Weekday early voting is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while voting on Saturday will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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