COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA ( WJBF) — People living in Columbia County hit the polls for the first day of early voting Monday.

“I think it’s always important to use your freedom to vote,” Darling Lee said.

“That’s the biggest thing — get and out and vote because if you don’t you have nothing to say,” Dennis Lortie said.

In addition to a Senate seat and the Republican nominee for the governor’s race, voters in Columbia County are also deciding on a District 4 commissioner as well as board of education seats for districts wo and three.

“Local races most of them are incumbents and they’re doing a good job I think. I just voted for the ones I that are running against people who I thought would be best,” Curtis Wren said.

Columbia County Board of Elections director Nancy Gay said because this is a primary race voters will need to select a party before voting.

“They need to do their research and know before they get into that voting booth and understand that if that if you select a non-partisan ballot it won’t have the partisan races. So, if you’re looking for governor then you would have to select a party ballot,” Gay said.

Some voters said there are a lot of important issues on the ballot this year including election laws.

“Well, if people can’t vote and you put all these obstacles in front of them to keep them from voting then we’re not going to get people that are really concerned about doing things for the people,” John Lowe said.

Election officials said primary elections generally draw a lower turnout but with significant races this year they are expecting about 30 to 40 percent turnout.

Early voting is open in Columbia County from 8am – 5pm Monday through Friday at  building G3, of the Evans Government Complex, located at 610 Ronald Reagan Drive, in Evans – AND – the former Euchee Creek Library, located at 5907 Euchee Creek Drive, in Grovetown.

Early voting ends May 20.