By Jason A. Smith
McDONOUGH — Early voting has started off with a bang this week in Henry County.
More than 3,000 people have already cast ballots for next month’s election since early voting kicked off Monday, said Elections and Registration Director Janet Shellnutt.
“Monday we did almost 1,800,” she said. “Tuesday we did 1,945.”
Shellnutt expected Wednesday afternoon that early votes for that day would surpass 2,000 people.
“Henry County is moving them in and moving them out,” she said.
Although lines at polls in Henry have been long, voters have not had to endure long waits before stepping up to the polls.
“Nobody has waited more than 15 minutes,” said Shellnutt. “I don’t want people to be discouraged to stop and vote because it’s not taking the length of time that people think it is. The more we vote early, the less we have to deal with on Election Day.”
Henry County has 134,235 registered voters, who are not registered by partisan affiliation. Shellnutt is hopeful that 50,000 people will vote early in Henry.
She was unable to compare this year with 2008 because voters have 21 days to cast ballots in advance as opposed to four years ago, when early voting lasted 45 days.
“This one has been much more of a bang because you’ve got to get them in three weeks and one Saturday,” said Shellnutt. “In 2008, Henry County had the highest percentage of early voters in the state. We voted 70,000 people early. It’s going to be hard to do that in 21 days and Saturday versus 45 days.”
In addition to the presidential election, Henry voters will cast ballots in contested races for Henry County Board of Commission chairman and BOC districts 1 and 2. City of McDonough will elect a new District 2 council member and vote on a charter amendment referendum.
The General Election is scheduled for Nov. 6 with polls open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Early voting hours through Friday will be from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Henry County Elections and Registration Building at 345 Phillips Drive in McDonough.
Beginning Oct. 22-26, early voting hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Elections and Registration Office and the Ted Strickland Community Center, at 130 Berry St. in Stockbridge.
Voters can also cast early ballots Saturday, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at both locations and the Fairview Library, 28 Austin Road in Stockbridge.
From Oct. 29 until Nov. 2, early voting will be available from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the main Elections Office, Ted Strickland Community Center, Fairview Library, the Hampton Train Depot at 17 East Main St. and the Locust Grove Recreation Center, 10 Cleveland St. in Locust Grove.