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Early voting underway in Bulloch

Early voting began Monday for the Aug. 11 runoff election in Bulloch County and around Georgia and will run through Friday, Aug. 7.

Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Pat Lanier Jones said voting will be available in the County Annex building only, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Unlike early voting before the June 9 primary, there will be no Saturday set aside for early voting in the Aug. 11 runoff.

While voters are required to stand at least 6 feet apart, and all are encouraged to wear masks and gloves, they are not required, Jones said.

In Bulloch County, two races — for the District 4 state Senate seat and for county solicitor-general — will appear on the Republican ballot.

Meanwhile, nonpartisan ballots will include just one runoff involving the entire county — a largely symbolic one between the same two state Senate candidates — and a runoff in only a portion of the county for a Board of Education seat.

There are no statewide runoffs, and no actual Democratic Party runoffs, although Democrats can vote in the nonpartisan races.

The Secretary of State’s Office did not mass-mail absentee ballot request forms as was done before the primary. And absentee ballots were automatically mailed to everyone who requested and received one for the primary, Jones said.

“Only those who were 65 or above or were disabled and requested to be put on the rollover list automatically had the ballot mailed to them,” she said. “But anybody else, if they want one, they’re going to have to request it.”

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Aug. 7, and they must be returned by the time polls close on Aug. 11.

So far, Jones said her office has received 3,509 absentee ballot requests, and 982 have been returned to the elections office.

Voters not sure whether they are on the rollover list can check their ballot status on the statewide My Voter Page,

An absentee ballot application can also be printed out from that page and emailed, faxed, mailed or brought in-person to the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration, 113 N. Main St., Suite 201, Statesboro, GA 30458.

One of the contests on the Republican ballot will be the runoff between Dr. Scott Bohlke and Billy Hickman, CPA, to represent District 4 in the Georgia Senate for the 2021–22 term. The other race for Republican voters throughout the county is the runoff between Catherine Sumner Findley and Mark A. Lanier to become solicitor-general of the Bulloch County State Court.

Bohlke and Hickman also appear as candidates for the state Senate seat on the nonpartisan ballot, which is a runoff to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Jack Hill’s term, through this December, and the Legislature has now adjourned for the year.

Also nonpartisan, the only Board of Education race requiring a runoff is between incumbent Heather Mims and challenger Lisa Deloach in BOE District 7, which makes up about one-eighth of Bulloch County by population.

The nonpartisan ballot will be included with the Republican ballot. People who voted Republican, Democrat or exclusively nonpartisan can vote in the nonpartisan partial-term special election runoff between Bohlke and Hickman, and BOE District 7 residents can vote in that school board runoff, regardless of party preference.

But voters who cast the Democratic primary ballot June 9 will not be able to vote in the solicitor-general runoff or the full-term state Senate race, since these were Republican primary races, Jones confirmed. A primary runoff is considered an extension of the original primary, and party crossover voting is not allowed.

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