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Citizens take advantage of early voting
Advance voting period concludes Friday
Early voting file web
In this Herald file photo from October 2010, Buddy Horne, left, Smith Marks, center, and John A. Newton fill out forms for early voting. Early voting for the 2011 election ends Friday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/Herald File

With four days remaining until the end of advance and early voting periods for Statesboro’s approaching city election, nearly 300 people have decided not to wait until Election Day to cast a ballot.
    According to Shontay Jones with the Bulloch County Registrar’s Office, 236 ballots have been completed, and another
49 absentee forms received, prior to the Friday deadline for early/advance voting.
    As of Monday morning 71 ballots were cast and four absentee forms filled by residents in Statesboro’s Precinct 2, which includes election districts three, four and five, she said — Precinct 2 citizens vote at the Old William James School.
    In Precinct 1, residents of voting districts one and two submitted 210 ballots, including 45 of 77 absentee forms that were mailed to citizens — Persons living in Precinct 1 vote at Statesboro’s Honey Bowen Building.
    In this year’s election, District 2 voters, including those that already have exercised their right, will decide the fate of Statesboro City Council’s only contested seat.
    Incumbent Councilman Gary Lewis, the council’s longest serving member, is being opposed by a trio of challengers.
    Lance Turner, who operates Eagles Nest Learning Center in Statesboro and coaches track and field at Statesboro High School, Sam Jones, an independent life insurance salesman and member of the Georgia National Guard, and Donald Logan, a pastor and military veteran, will each vie to unseat Lewis on Election Day. 
    According to Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones, if none of the four candidates receives 50 percent, plus one, of votes cast in the race after all ballots are counted, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters on Dec. 6.
    In Districts 3 and 5 — the only other council districts that feature expiring terms — incumbent councilmen Will Britt (3) and Travis Chance (5) will face no opposition for their offices.
    When polls open next Tuesday, Statesboro residents also will, for the first time, determine whether alcohol sales would be permitted on Sundays.
    A July vote by Statesboro City Council cleared the way for referendums to appear on ballots, and on Election Day citizens will be presented with two questions easing restrictions on the sale of libations.
    One question asks whether to allow a municipality “permit and regulate package sales by retailers of malt beverages and wine to be sold beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending at 11:30 p.m. on Sundays” — passing of the referendum would allow Sunday sales in grocery and convenience stores. A second question would “permit and regulate Sunday Sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink” — which would allow Sunday sales in restaurants.
    The July vote by council was made a little more than two months after Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Senate Bill 10 — which grants local communities the right to determine whether alcohol may be sold on Sundays.
    Anyone wishing to cast a ballot for the election, whether a part of early/advanced voting or at the polls, must be a registered voter in Bulloch County and present some form of photo identification on the day of elections, said Jones.
    Early and advanced voting will conclude Friday at 5:30 p.m.
    Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8 and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    A sample ballot for the election can be found at http://www.bullochcounty.net/departments/voterregistration.htm.
   
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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