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Early voting turnout tiny in Statesboro District 2, Brooklet and Register elections
Advanced voting opportunity closes 5 p.m. Friday; Election Day polls open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday
Vote 2023

Voter participation has been very low through the first 13-plus days of early voting in Statesboro District 2, Brooklet and Register city elections. The 17-day state-mandated early voting opportunity concludes at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3. Then traditional Election Day voting will be available 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, at entirely different locations.

In Statesboro, only Council District 2 has an election, the one between incumbent council member Paulette Chavers and challenger Lawton Sack, and only that district's registered voters can participate. Two other city districts had seats up for election this year, but each had only one candidate to qualify, so the District 3 and District 5 elections were cancelled.

This has contributed to a situation in which probably more residents have come in to try to vote but were ineligible than have actually voted early, Bulloch County Election Supervisor Shontay Jones said Tuesday, Oct. 31.

"I would say that we've probably had more voters that we've had to turn away than we've had that actually could vote … some being in the county, but also in some of those districts that the election was cancelled or they were in a different City Council district," she said.

Jones suggests that, to save themselves time, voters who are uncertain about their City Council district check via the statewide My Voter Page, or call the Bulloch County Elections & Registration office at (912) 764-6502 or, a relatively new option, go to the office's webpage, and scroll down to find the link, "NEW!! Who are my representatives?" Clicking on this link takes visitors to a page with a map and search box, where searching for a street address or zooming in on the map and clicking a location will reveal not just its state and federal representatives but local districts, such as City Council districts, and their current elected officials.

Continuing 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1, Thursday, Nov. 2, and concluding Friday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m., the county elections office, Suite 201 in the County Annex, 113 N. Main St., Statesboro, is hosting in-person advance voting in the Statesboro District 2 election and also the Register city election.

As of noon Tuesday, Oct. 31, early voting had been available for 11½ weekdays and two Saturdays (Oct. 21 and Oct. 28). Through all of those days and until about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, a cumulative 156 people had cast ballots in the Statesboro District 2 election. The district has more than 4,000 registered voters.

On the two Saturdays included in that cumulative early voter turnout, just seven Statesboro District 2 residents voted on Saturday, Oct. 21, and just five on Saturday, Oct. 28.

"It's been very slow. …," Jones said. "I think the first day of voting (Monday, Oct. 16) was the day we had the most voters come in. I think we had 21 people then, and ever since then, it's just been sporadic."

On Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, Statesboro District 2 voters who haven't already voted can vote in the Jones-Love Building at Luetta Moore Park, 585 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The precinct that previously voted at the William James Educational Complex has been permanently relocated to Luetta Moore Park, and no other Statesboro precinct votes in this election

Register: None so far

Meanwhile, early voting in the Register city election had been not merely slow, but nonexistent. Because the town, with about 150 voters, contracts with the county election office to oversee its municipal elections, Register residents who vote early must do so at the County Annex in Statesboro. None had done so, on either of the Saturdays or any of the weekdays, as of early afternoon Oct. 31.

But on the regular Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, Register voters will vote at Register's own in-town polling place, 33 Foster Rd., Register.

Register, where all resident voters are eligible to vote for all council seats, has one contest, between Richard Cannady and Melanie Lynn Nessmith for currently vacant Council Seat 5. Seat 3 incumbent Tonya Boyd and Seat 4 incumbent Alfred L. Jones appear on the ballot unopposed.

Brooklet's surprise

The city of Brooklet, meanwhile, has been conducting its own early voting, as usual, at Brooklet City Hall, 104 Church St.

"Saturday was our busy day, which I was really surprised," said Brooklet City Clerk Lori Phillips, "and then I haven't had any this week."

Brooklet's cumulative total, as of 2:45 p.m. Oct. 31, was 32 early voters, and 15 of them cast their ballots last Saturday, Oct. 28. Brooklet had only one resident to vote on the first Saturday, Oct. 21, Phillips said.

Brooklet's voters who wait until Tuesday, Nov. 7, will vote in the traditional place, the Recreation Department's community building at 416 N. Cromley Rd., Brooklet.

All of these polls will open 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Brooklet voters are answering "yes" or "no" to the referendum question, "Shall the issuance of licenses for the package sale of distilled spirits be approved?" 

That will decide whether the city government can license liquor stores in Brooklet's city limits.

Brooklet also has a town-wide race for City Council Post 1 among candidates Seth Cannon, Melanie Garcia and Hubert Keith Roughton. That is the seat being vacated by Nicky Gwinnett, now unopposed to be Brooklet's next mayor. Incumbent Council Member Bradley Anderson is unopposed for re-election to Post 2.

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