Stephens County voter turnout at 4 percent in General Primary early voting

Early voting will continue through June 5, operating from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The mandatory Saturday early voting will be held this coming Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., also at the Historic Courthouse in Toccoa.

With eight and a half days of in-person early voting completed, slightly more than 4 percent of Stephens County’s 17,749 active, registered voters have cast their ballot in the Georgia General Primary Election.


According to 2019 Census Bureau data, Stephens County’s population is 25,925, 77.8 percent of which are of voting age. A healthy 88 percent of those 20,170 voting-age residents are active, registered voters according to current data supplied to ConnectLocal by Stephens County Chief Registrar Eureka Gober.

Out of the county’s 17,749 active voters, 612 have voted in person at the Historic Courthouse in Toccoa – the only in-person voting location for Toccoa/Stephens County - since early voting began on May 18. An additional 118 absentee ballots have been received since May 11, including those mailed to the Elections office and those dropped off at the new collection box, located in front of the Stephens County Government Building at the intersection of North Alexander Street and West Tugalo Street.

Early voting will continue through June 5, operating from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The mandatory Saturday early voting will be held this coming Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., also at the Historic Courthouse in Toccoa.

Registered voters may still request an absentee ballot in order to vote by mail; no reason needs to be given in order to obtain an absentee ballot. To vote by absentee ballot, you must first fill out, sign, and submit an absentee ballot application. Ballot applications can be downloaded, filled out and returned to the Stephens County Election Office by mail or in person, or you can contact the Stephens County Elections office at 706-886-8954.

Ballot applications must be received by the Elections office no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5. Absentee ballot applications must be received by the deadline, not just postmarked by the deadline.

Once you receive your absentee ballot, fill it out following the included directions, making sure to sign the envelope as instructed, and return the ballot to the Stephens County Election office by mail, or the ballot, in the provided envelope and signed as instructed, may be dropped off in the collection box in front of the Stephens County Government building.

Absentee ballots must be returned to the Stephens County Election office no later than 7 p.m. on June 9. Absentee ballots must be received by the deadline, not just postmarked by the deadline.

Those wishing to vote in person on Election Day, June 9, will vote at the Stephens County Senior Center, 55 Rose Lane, Toccoa, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Voting will not be available at the Historic Courthouse on June 9.

ConnectLocal’s FOCUS2020 Voters’s Guide and the Congressional Seat Voters Guide details the offices up for election and provides information on the candidates. ConnectLocal is also working with other regional local news outlets to schedule a debate, with traditional debate format including candidates being able to question each other – for Georgia State Senate District 50, and Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. More information will be provided as available.


Eureka Gober

Chief Registrar

70 North Alexander St. Ste. 102

Toccoa, GA 30577

706-886-8954

FYI

A report issued by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission shows that roughly 33.2 million mail in ballots were submitted nationwide in the 2016 General Election – of those, 332,000, or 1 percent, were not counted. Reasons for the undercount included missing signatures, signatures on the ballot that did not match the signature on the state records, ballots received past the deadline.


When county election officials reject an absentee ballot, they must contact the voter by email, phone or postal mail within three business days. Voters must be contacted the next business day if absentee ballots are invalidated during the 11 days before election day. About 3 percent of all absentee ballots were thrown out in the 2018 general election.

Concerns have also been expressed this year regarding absentee ballots due to the fact that ballots have been sent out without the security envelope that the ballot is inserted into before being placed in the mailing envelope. This omission has caused concern among some voters and politicians over the secrecy of ballots that are opened and a voters name on the envelope is visible to the person opening the envelope, as well as the person’s voting selections. The inner security envelope that previously was sent with absentee ballots avoided this situation.

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