In-person early voting for Georgia’s May 24 party primaries and nonpartisan general election begins Monday, May 2, and extends for 15 weekdays, through May 20, plus two Saturdays here, May 7 and May 14.
Contested local offices up for election include the Bulloch County State Court judgeship and, in some districts, Board of Commissioners and Board of Education seats. Meanwhile, the Democratic and Republican primary ballots carry candidates for a U.S. Senate seat and state offices from governor to public service commissioner, plus lists of eight or nine opinion questions directed only toward party platforms.
Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones expects some lines to form even during the early voting. But lines of early voters can have an upside on the final, traditional Election Day.
“We always want a line,” Jones said. “The more people we can vote in-person early, the less people show up at the precincts on Election Day, so we get our votes a lot sooner.”
In other words, more early voting means the lines will be shorter on May 24 for voters who wait until then to vote, and the count can be concluded faster than night.
Places and times
The Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration area in the County Annex, 113 N. Main St., will be open for early voting 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, May 2 through May 20. It will be the only early voting location the first two weeks and the only Saturday voting location. Saturday voting will be available 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 7 and May 14.
A second location, the Honey Bowen Building, 1 Max Lockwood Drive, will open for early voting the third and final week only, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, May 16-20.
Because this election features party primaries, voters are asked to choose either a Democratic or a Republican ballot and cannot vote in both primaries. But the nonpartisan general election ballot is included with both parties’ ballots, and some of this year’s truly local contests in Bulloch County are nonpartisan, as judges and school boards are required to be.
Judge and BOE races
All currently registered voters in the county can participate in choosing the Bulloch County State Court judge. The choices are the appointed incumbent, Joseph L. Cushner, and a challenger, attorney Michael Classens.
Four of the eight Bulloch County Board of Education seats are up for election this year, and only voters in the specific districts will see those candidates on their nonpartisan ballots.
BOE District 4 will choose from incumbent board member April Newkirk and challengers Donna Clifton and Kathy C. Sherrod, in a race that could result in a June 21 runoff. BOE District 5 voters will choose between incumbent Glennera Martin and challenger Shontelle Childress, while BOE District 6 will choose either incumbent Jay Cook or challenger Mary E. Boyer.
Elizabeth Y. Williams is unopposed for the District 2 BOE seat, from which Mike Sparks is retiring at the end of the year.
In contrast to the school board, county commissioner candidates choose parties and run within multi-seat districts.
Commission District 2, which includes about two-thirds of the county, has the busiest race, with three Republicans and one Democrat vying for Seat 2-B, from which Commissioner Walter Gibson is retiring. But only District 2 voters requesting the Republican ballot have a choice at this stage, among GOP candidates Travis Chance, Toby Connor and Jennifer Campbell Mock.
Democratic voters in Commission District 2 will see only Jake Hallman’s name in the Seat 2-B ballot segment. As the only Democratic candidate, he will advance to face the Republican nominee – Chance, Connor or Mock – in the Nov. 8 general election.
Seat 2-D Commissioner Timmy Rushing also appears on District 2 Republican ballots, but he is completely unopposed.
Commission District 1, the other third of the county, also has a race underway for Seat 1-B, but voters won’t actually be deciding it at this point. Incumbent Anthony Simmons is a Democrat, and challenger Preston Tutt is a Republican, so each appears alone on his party’s primary ballot, and voters will decide in the Nov. 8 general election.
Because of census-based redistricting, some voters’ Board of Education, Board of Commissioners or state House of Representatives districts have changed. This affects only which seats you can vote for, not where you have to vote.
Voters can check their district assignments with the county elections office, 912-764-6502 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or obtain a voter-specific sample ballot through the statewide My Voter Page at mvp.sos.ga.gov/s/ which is its new address.