Early voting ends Saturday

Published 8:00 am Friday, November 2, 2018

Polk has almost 5,000 votes; polls open Tuesday

COLUMBUS — Polk County voters have turned out in record numbers early for a midterm election as of Thursday morning, with more than two days of early voting remaining.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, Polk County had cast 4,708 early votes so far, with unaffiliated voters still in the lead, followed by Republicans, then Democrats.

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Early voting will end Saturday at the Polk County Board of Elections Office, with voting available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Traditional voting will take place on Tuesday, but only at each precinct’s polling place, not the board of election office.

Early voting began Oct. 17 and so far has included, as of Thursday morning, 1,708 unaffiliated voters casting votes, 1,672 Republicans casting votes, 1,503 Democrats casting votes and eight Libertarians.

Women voters are ahead of men by almost 500 votes, with women casting 2,580 votes so far, compared to 2,097 from men and 35 from undetermined.

“We’re already at record early voting for a midterm by far,” said Polk County Board of Election Director Cliff Marr. “I do not believe we will hit presidential early voting. The last presidential election was roughly 6,000 [in early votes].”

Normally, Polk County turns out around 4,000 votes during early voting and another approximate 4,000 votes on Election Day for a midterm, which is about 50 percent of its registered voters. Presidential elections see higher turnout, with about 70 percent of voters casting votes in total, and 6,000 of those coming out early.

There are also currently 179 absentee ballots yet to be returned.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is over.

“All absentee ballots have to be in the office by 5 p.m. Tuesday or postmarked by Election Day,” Marr said. “We can receive ballots up until the Friday after Election Day, but they have to be postmarked by Tuesday.”

Polk County currently has 16,124 registered voters, with 37.26 percent registered unaffiliated, 35.06 percent registered Republican, 27.18 percent registered Democrat and 0.5 percent registered Libertarian.

Of the registered voters, 92.01 percent are white, 4.54 percent are black and 3.45 percent are other. 

As of Thursday morning, four votes were cast by American Indians, seven had been cast by Asians, 185 by blacks, 13 by multiracial, 30 by other, 68 by undetermined and 4,405 by whites.

Voting on Election Day, which is Tuesday, will be at each of Polk County’s seven precincts from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Registration can only be done during early voting, not on Election Day.

For information about this year’s election or to see where they should vote on Election Day, residents may call the election office at 828-894-8181.