COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF) – Columbia County is seeing a high voter turnout this election season, as voters are eagerly casting their ballots early and making their voices heard. 

“I want to serve our county and our state,” said Chad Watson. “So, I want to get out as early as possible to get my vote in to make sure I prevented from any chances of not voting on the actual voting day on Tuesday. So, it’s just one of those things I am blessed to have the opportunity to do here in America.”

With a busy parking lot, the government complex in Evans welcomed plenty of voters just before lunchtime. 

 “Well, I think that people are finally seeing that midterms matter and there is the higher interest in it,” said Nacy Gay, executive director of Columbia County Board of Elections. “I also think that voters like being able to cast their vote when they want to, on their schedule. So, I think early voting is popular for that reason.”

A week and a half into early voting, Columbia County officials say that over 17 thousand people have come in to cast an early vote.

“It’s important to vote,” said Leroy Lakes. “You know, there’s marches, protests and everything. So, in this country- a freedom to vote. You gotta exercise your right to vote.”

Officials tell me not only has turnout been amazing this season, but voters have often complimented their staff and the voting experience.

“We found it fast and easy,” said Deborah Couvillion. “Columbia County does a really good job with it. Where we came from- took all day. But I like Columbia County. They do it really well.”

Columbia County has seen in-person early ballots cast by almost 17 percent of active registered voters. Richmond County has seen more than eight percent.

Early voting in Columbia County ends November 4th at 5pm.

“Friday- tomorrow- is the last day to get absentee ballot requests in, for absentee ballots by mail,” reminded Gay. “So, voters, if they want a ballot mailed to them, they need to get that request in by 5pm tomorrow and then we’ll get the ballot to them. And we have to receive all voter ballots back by election night- 7pm.”

Nancy Gay is very hopeful the overall turnout in Columbia County will reach close to 70 percent. So far, it looks like it just might.