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Early voting starts small in first week
Two more weeks and a Saturday available to vote before May 22
vote 2018

The first five days of in-person early voting for the May 22 elections ended 5 p.m. Friday with just 411 ballots cast in Bulloch County, which has 38,639 active voters, reported Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.

Meanwhile, 25 people have voted early in Statesboro’s District 5 special election for a City Council member.

“It has been slow this week,” Jones said.

She wants to encourage more people to vote early, especially those in City Council District 5. Of course, they can also vote in the regular state and county election, and participating in both elections requires standing in just one line at the early voting location. Statesboro District 5 voters who wait until Election Day will have to pass through two lines for the separate city and county machines.


A Saturday, too

In-person early voting will be available for two more weeks, ending May 18, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the elections office area of the County Annex, 113 N. Main St.

Not next week but the following week, May 14–18, early voting will also be available during those hours at a second location,  the Honey Bowen Building at 1 Max Lockwood Drive in the Fair Road Park, as well as in the County Annex.

Additionally, there is one opportunity for Saturday voting, next Saturday, May 12, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Bulloch County Annex only.

Traditional voting precincts countywide will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22.

Another alternative is to apply for an absentee ballot, with no excuse required. The election office can mail these out through May 18.


Governor to T-SPLOST

Statewide, races for governor and lieutenant governor top the ballots in both the Democratic and Republican primaries. Republicans as well as Democrats also have choices to make in the 12th District congressional race.

From now to November, there are Bulloch County Board of Commissioners races in commission Districts 1 and 2, which together comprise the entire county. But at this point the only contested primary race for commissioner is on the Republican ballot in District 2, where challenger Travis Chance, incumbent Walter Gibson and challenger Sid Jones vie for the Seat 2-B nomination. The winner there will face Democratic challenger Adrienne Dobbs in November. The other races are between Republicans and Democrats and so can’t be decided until Nov. 6.

For governor, Republican-ballot voters chose from six candidates: Casey Cagle, Eddie Hayes, Hunter Hill, Brian Kemp, Clay Tippins and Michael Williams. Democratic-ballot voters see two different candidates: Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.

A seventh Republican gubernatorial candidate, March Urbach, recently withdrew, but Urbach’s name is still on ballots statewide. Much more locally, the name of Jeff Klare, who recently withdrew from the Seat 2-D county commissioner race, is still on that ballot. Signs in polling places advise voters about these former candidates.

Bulloch County’s referendum on a proposed new 1 percent sales tax for transportation projects, called T-SPLOST, is on the nonpartisan ballot, which is included with both the Democratic and the Republican ballots.

Two districts have contested races for their Bulloch County Board of Education seats, which are nonpartisan. BOE District 4’s race is between Adrianne McCollar and April Newkirk, with incumbent Steve Hein not seeking re-election. BOE District 5 will choose between challenger Dr. Mary Felton and incumbent board member Glennera Martin.


Can’t vote both parties

Because the May 22 state and county election includes party primaries requiring a choice of ballots, voters will not be able to vote in every race they might wish.

For example, the contest between state House District 160 challenger Robert Busbee and incumbent Rep. Jan Tankersley appears only on the Republican ballot in that district.

But the contest among candidates Francys Johnson and Trent Nesmith, both from Statesboro, and Robert Ingham, who is from Augusta, for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 12th District seat in the Congress appears only on the Democrat ballot.

Voters who ask for the Republican ballot will get to choose between incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Allen and his Republican challenger, Eugene Yu. The winner will face one of the three Democrats in the Nov. 6 general election.

Voters’ party choice for the primaries is binding only through any resulting runoffs, which will be held July 24.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.


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