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Early voting underway in South Georgia, one week to go for the Big Bend: a look at what you need to know

Posted at 6:54 PM, Oct 17, 2022

THOMAS COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) — Thomas County election officials saw a high turnout today as people showed up to make their voice heard on the first day of early voting.

"I came for a couple of things…some garden supplies and early voting."

Libby Ellis lives in Thomas County. She and her husband came out to cast their votes right away.

"I am a little older and I didn't want to have to fight a great big crowd having to stand in line too long I just wanted to get it over with it was convenient and my husband's going to have some surgery and I wanted to be sure he got his vote in too," said Ellis.

There are 33,000 registered voters in Thomas County and 97% of them are active voters. Frank Scoggins is the Thomas County Elections Supervisor and says they're here to help people every step of the way so they can vote in advance.

"We've got sample ballots if you like and we've got sample ballots that are just the referendums and the amendments if you like to have those and of course don't be intimidated by the machines we can help you I can't get in the booth with you but we can guide you," said Scoggins who saw hundreds of early voters turn up to cast their ballots on Monday. He said at one point, they were checking people in every 45 seconds! Scoggins added that they increased their voting capacity by 1/3 by adding additional booths and scanners called "poll pads" to check more people in.

If you plan to vote early in Thomas County, there is only one location to do it and that's at the elections and registration office at 1402 East Jackson Street in Thomasville. They will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. They'll also be open this Saturday, October 22 and next Saturday, October 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You'll need to bring a valid ID to cast your vote.

In Florida, early voting starts on October 24. Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley said there are over 202,000 active registered voters in Leon County and there will be ten early voting locations across the county.

"If you go and try to vote early then we can find out if there is some problem and we have time to correct it if you wait until 6:30 or 7 PM on election night and there's a hiccup or a problem it's very difficult to get that rectified so I always think of Election Day as your last chance to vote but certainly you can vote by mail or you can get to an early voting site," said Earley.

Earley said when it comes to secure elections, they have strict post-election audits and partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies to protect them against any cyber security threats…so all you have to worry about is voting.

"The way to make your voice heard is not through Facebook or social media get out and vote that's the way you can actually make change happen in our nation we've got a strong democracy and we've got elections you absolutely can trust," added Earley.

The deadline to vote early in Georgia is November 4 and in Florida the deadline is November 6.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.