DeKalb sees high numbers for early voting

After six days of early voting in DeKalb County, more than 16,000 people had voted for this year’s midterms than in the same period for the 2014 midterms.

According to the DeKalb County Voter Registration and Elections Office, 28,789 voters had cast ballots or turned in absentee ballots in the first six days of early voting. In 2014, the number of voters who cast ballots early was 12,311. Board of Registration and Elections member Samuel Tillman said voting turnout for this election is the highest he has seen for any midterm election in DeKalb. He said he also has seen more senior citizens voting in this election than prior elections.

“Seniors are voting in numbers that I have not seen in years, even when [former president Barack] Obama was running,” Tillman said. “I guess the heartwarming thing to me is to see seniors coming in that are 90, 95 and 97 years old. A lot of them are in wheelchairs, on walkers, canes; some of them have a difficult time just walking, but they’re coming in to vote.”

Tillman said voting locations try to accommodate people who are in wheelchairs, using walkers or have difficulty standing.

“People are coming out to vote,” Tillman said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised, especially in south DeKalb, which is usually one of our high early voting locations, but I think they’re going to exceed themselves this year.”

The Gallery at South DeKalb Mall saw 7,189 voters cast ballots in the first week of advanced voting. Tillman also said DeKalb is not turning voters away even if someone’s voter registration is on hold. According to reports, more than 53,000 voter applications are on hold with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office. Kemp is also running for governor.

Tillman said they have the list of DeKalb voter applications that are being held and will allow them to vote.

“We have them on a list, we know who they are and when they come in we allow them to vote. Not a provisional ballot; they vote on the machine,” Tillman said. “I’m not sure if other counties are doing this, but we’re very proactive in allowing people to vote.”

Tillman said his office has not received any complaints about voting in the county.

“We don’t turn people away from voting,” he said. “If people don’t have the proper identification, we give them a provisional ballot and they have several days to correct that. We do not turn people away in DeKalb County from voting.”

The last day to vote early in DeKalb is Nov. 2


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