Due to the Dade County Board of Elections’ decision to close on Oct. 12 in observance of Columbus Day, Dade was not counted in the state of Georgia’s record breaking turnout on the first day of advanced voting.
Despite notices sent out to citizens that Dade’s polls would not be open on Columbus Day, major news sources reported that the first day of early voting was Oct. 12, resulting in many standing outside of the County Commission room in Trenton trying to vote. Out of all neighboring counties, Dade was the only one to not conduct early voting on opening day.
Elections Supervisor Lowanna Vaughan said that this was the case because the Board of Elections is following the county’s operating days and schedule, which also means that early voting on Fridays stops at 2 p.m.
According to a press release from the Georgia Secretary of State, over 130,000 ballots were cast on Columbus Day.
“Record early, in-person voting capped off an already unprecedented election cycle,” Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. “On our successful first day of early in person voting, we saw almost 130,000 people cast their ballots, mirroring the enthusiasm surges we saw in almost every other state that has started early voting for November. With three weeks of early-person voting; absentee ballots that can be returned by drop box, by mail, or in person to an elections registrar; and Election Day voting, Georgia provides plenty of opportunities for Georgia voters to participate in the democratic process.”
When early voting in Dade officially began on Oct. 13, over 400 ballots were cast.
Vaughan said that as of Oct. 16, 634 ballots have been cast in the county.
“We’ve been very busy – not quite as busy as Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, but we’re still [seeing] around 300 [voters] a day,” Vaughan said.