MACON, GA.-- - Thousands showed up to early voting in Macon on Monday, and as the voters lined up to cast their ballots, we received a call in to the newsroom about campaigning at the Board of Elections.
We wanted to search for the facts and find out where campaigning is allowed. WMAZ verified the campaigning rules at polling locations and digging in to learn what really happened.
"This has been a long campaign. I'm glad to early vote and get it over with,” says Macon voter Alaine Bowman.
Many Maconites were concerned that there may have been some party campaigning around the polling places.
“We have to remain nonpartisan as to not to show any particular favoritism toward any candidate,” says Election Board Supervisor Jeanetta Watson.
Watson says there was not any illegal campaigning going on. She says they put the sign out front to warn people about it.
"Voters, when they come in, you know, it's their preference to choose the candidate of their choice and not have anyone influencing them once they come out to vote,” says Watson.
Turns out campaigning at or within a certain distance of a polling place is illegal. We verified this information by reading the state law that says party campaigning cannot be done within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building where a polling place is established or inside any polling place. Campaigning cannot even be done within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at a polling place. Any person who violates the code can be subject to a misdemeanor.
The League of Women Voters and employees from the Board of Elections office took the time to reward early voters with lunch from Nu-Way.
“Here you go, there's chili dogs right there,” says one of the volunteers.
One early Macon voter says as a veteran voting is important to her because it is one of the American rights she fought for.
"You fight for the country's rights, for freedom that we have today, and it's just sad if people feel like their vote won't matter, but it does matter. Make your vote and make sure it counts. So it's never too late to do that,” says Macon voter Leslie Scott.
And never too late to cast your ballot at a polling place without outside influence.
The Election Board Supervisor, Jeanetta Watson, says nearly three thousand people voted at the two Bibb Early Voting Polling places in the first two days.