Early voting for senate runoff will be Nov. 28-Dec. 2

Early voting for senate runoff will be Nov. 28-Dec. 2

By Shawn Jarrard North Georgia News editor@nganews.com

Early in-person voting for the U.S. Senate Runoff Election between Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic Incumbent Raphael Warnock has been set for the week after Thanksgiving, to run Monday, Nov. 28, through Friday, Dec. 2.

A runoff is needed because neither Walker nor Warnock cleared the majority hurdle to win outright. Walker earned 48.52% of the vote to Warnock’s 49.42%. The election will only feature the top two vote-getters, leaving out Libertarian Chase Oliver, who garnered 2.07% of the vote.

In-person early voting will occur in the Jury Assembly Room of the Union County Courthouse at 65 Courthouse Street in Blairsville, with voting hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., even during lunchtime.

Runoff Election Day voting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the 11 pre-assigned precincts of Union County.

Voters may request mail-in absentee ballots through Monday, Nov. 28, and if people checked that they were elderly or disabled on a previous application this year, they should receive a mailed ballot automatically without having to submit another application.

 Folks wanting to utilize the official drop box to turn in their absentee ballots can find it in the Jury Assembly Room during early voting hours. Completed absentee ballots may also be dropped off at the Registrar’s Office inside Election Day.

By accessing the “My Voter Page” at https://mvp.sos.ga.gov/, voters may request an absentee ballot and find their registration status, precinct information, mailed absentee ballot status, voter participation history and more.

Nov. 7 was the voter registration deadline to be eligible to participate in the federal runoff.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced last week that the statewide “Risk Limiting Audit” required following November general elections in even-numbered years would begin in all counties on Thursday, Nov. 17, to be open to the public.

The audit will consist of a hand count of random ballot batches to compare with machinecounted election results, and the race to be audited will be the Secretary of State election, which Raffensperger won Nov. 8 with 53.25% of the vote.

Separately, in the interest of transparency, the Union County Board of Elections hosted a public hand count audit for the local governor and senate election results on Monday, Nov. 14. The results were not available at press time.

In other election news, for the only contested countylevel race to appear on the ballot last week, Union County voters overwhelmingly chose Republican Incumbent Tony H u n t e r o v e r D e m o c r a t i c challenger Michelle Maloney for Union County Board of Education District 2.

Hunter earned 83.44% of the vote and will swear into his fourth term in January.

“I really do appreciate the confidence that the public entrusts me with, because it could be anybody in this position, and hopefully I won’t let them down,” Hunter said. “Collectively, we have an awesome board, and we all work for the betterment of the community and the great education that our kids are getting – they all have a heart for it.”

The re-elected School Board member said he looks forward to continuing the school system’s mission of remaining “Union United” and providing “Success For ALL,” with a goal of making Union County not just No. 1 in the state, but in the United States.

“We have the greatest staff and the greatest school system around,” he said, noting that he is grateful to be surrounded by similarly high-performing school systems in the North Georgia Mountains.

Republicans Jason McCarter and Incumbent Patrick White ran unopposed in their School Board districts, and they will join Hunter in being sworn in come January.

This was an above-average year of voting for a midterm election, with the state reporting about 71% of the Union County electorate having cast ballots in the 2022 General Election, compared with the 67% turnout in 2018.

Of course, these numbers pale in comparison to recent presidential election year turnouts, with a whopping 85% of active Union County voters showing up in 2016 and 81% in 2020.

Midterm turnout was up across the state as well, bolstered by the many opportunities to vote in Georgia, from access to no-excuse absentee ballots to 17days of early voting.

Union County had the third highest voter turnout in the state for the 2022 Midterm Elections, behind only Oconee County at74.48% and Green County at71.52%.

Big election wins last week included Gov. Brian Kemp, who beat repeat challenger Democrat Stacey Abrams by a comfortable margin, as well as District 8 State Rep. Stan Gunter with 84.3% of the vote, and 9th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde with more than 72%.