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The polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight. Be sure to stop by and cast your ballot. For real-time updates as the votes are tallied, check or call our election hotline at 770-567-3446. Only 12% of Pike County voters showed up to the polls during early voting. The registrar’s office offered local voters 16 days of early voting, including one Saturday. A total of 1,017 residents took advantage of early voting. Out of 199 absentee ballots mailed out, 176 were returned and will be tallied after all votes are cast. The state mandates that each county start advance voting 21 days before election day but they only have to offer on weekend day for voters. The general primary election early voting period cost the county $1,153.55 in additional salaries because three workers are required by Georgia to work the polls during voting. Pike registrar Sandi Chamblin put in 36 overtime hours at no cost to the county because she is paid salary. Only 26 voters took advantage of Saturday voting July 21 at an additional cost to the county of $5.95 per voter. For the entire period of early voting, an average of eight citizens cast their vote each hour. Early voting cost Pike a total of $3,944.80 in salaries for the 17 days when the polls were open to citizens. That calculates to $246.55 a day with an average of 64 voters a day at a cost of $3.85 per voter. According to Chamblin, when Pike started the state-mandated advanced voting system, they were told they could expect an average of 20% of voters at the polls during early voting. ’We didn’t have a very good turnout for early voting. I personally think smaller counties should be able to use their discretion as to how many poll workers are needed, because there were days when we only had four or five voters and other days ‘“ like last Friday ‘“ when we had 154 voters in one day. That wasn’t the norm because it was last day of early voting,’ Chamblin said. ‘I think counties with less than 50,000 residents should have some discretionary authority because the turnout isn’t that great for the entire period of early voting.’

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