African-American voters in Baldwin County rally around "Saturday voting"

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A whopping 1,002 Baldwin County residents cast their ballots yesterday during "Saturday voting," a very large number for a runoff election in a county of roughly 43,000 people.

Out of those 1,002 Saturday voters, roughly 62 percent were African-American. Overall, African-Americans account for 40 percent of the voter base in Baldwin County.

It was a theme that was repeated around the state, as 41 percent of the 90,293 Georgians who took part in Saturday voting were African-American. Overall, roughly 33 percent of active voters in Georgia are African-American.

Wrote the local chapter of the NAACP on its Facebook page Saturday morning: "We fought for Saturday voting and we won! Let them hear your voice today."

Originally, there weren't any "Saturday voting" days scheduled in Georgia, as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's office concluded that state law prohibits early voting on the day following a state holiday, and last Thursday and Friday were both state holidays in Georgia. However, Sen. Rafael Warnock and several Democrat organizations filed a lawsuit, and a Superior Court judge in Atlanta ultimately sided with Warnock and the Democrats.

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Here in Baldwin County and around the state, registrar's offices scrambled to update voting machines and recruit enough poll workers for Saturday voting. 

A runoff became necessary in the Senate election after Warnock nor Herschel Walker managed to receive a majority of the votes in the general election, thanks to Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, who received 81,365 votes out of a total of 3,935,924. Warnock garnered 1,946,117 votes (49.44), while Walker had 1,908,442 (48.49 percent).

Early voting resumes this morning at the new Carrington Woods government annex. The doors open at 8:30 and close at 5 p.m. Today also is the last day to mail in absentee ballots, but absentee voters also have the option of submitting their absentee ballots off at "ballot drop box" at the annex during voting hours all the way up to 7 p.m. on election day.

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On voting day, all Baldwin County's precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will exactly one item – the Herschel Walker vs. Raphael Warnock Senate race – on the ballot at each precinct, with the exception of the West Thomas Fire Department precinct, where voters will see two items on the ballot. That's because no candidate in the District 5 City Council election managed to receive a majority share of the vote in the general election, creating a runoff between the two leading vote-getters – Shonya Mapp (265 votes, 37.8 percent) and Oscar Davis, Jr. (193 votes, 27.53 percent). The winner of the runoff will replace longtime District 5 City Councilman Boo Mullins, who passed away earlier this year, and it essentially will equate to a three-year term.

If Mapp wins, history would be made, and the majority of the City Council would be majority female for the first time ever. The City Council has been comprised of three men and three women for 20-something years now, but it's never been majority female.

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