At the end of voting hours Thursday, 1,144 Bulloch County residents had voted early in the Education SPLOST referendum, while 782 Statesboro residents had done so in the city’s mayoral race.
These are two separate elections being conducted simultaneously, until now at the same place, the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration office area of the county annex, 113 North Main St., Suite 201. But in-person advanced voting will end there today, Friday, at 5 p.m. No in-person voting will be allowed Monday.
Then Tuesday, Nov. 7, the traditional Election Day, the situation will be more complicated because voters in Statesboro’s mayoral election will have to vote in their assigned city precincts, which are not always the same as their county precincts. So some Statesboro voters will have to go to two different places in order to vote in both elections.
Even in the two places that serve as both county and city precinct houses, there will be two separate lines.
This is why Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones has been encouraging all who can to cast their ballots during the advanced voting.
“Tuesday is the day voting will be going on everywhere, and some people will have two sets of paperwork to fill out, and basically two different lines, whereas up here (in early voting), we’ve been processing them in one line, doing two elections,” she said.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Early voting ending
Again, the early voting opportunity is still available today, Friday, only.
Advanced voting has been underway 8 a.m.-5 p.m., five days a week since Oct. 16. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 751 voters had signed in to vote in-person on the machines in the city election, in which 31 absentee paper ballots had also been returned out of 79 requested and mailed to voters’ addresses, Jones reported.
Meanwhile, in the county referendum, 1,110 voters had voted early in-person, while 34 absentee ballots had been returned out of 80 mailed out, she said.
The only item on the countywide ballot is the yes-no question on whether the 1 percent Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax should be continued for another five years.
Statesboro’s city ballot has the race for the mayor’s office involving incumbent Jan Moore and challengers John Grotheer and Jonathan McCollar. District 1 Councilman Phil Boyum and District 4 Councilman John Riggs also appear on ballots for their districts, but both are unopposed for re-election.
Election Day voting
The following explains why voting Tuesday will be more complicated for Statesboro residents who wish to vote in both elections. As Jones notes, some but not all of these voters will have to go to two different polling places, and all will have to go through two different lines for city and county ballots.
There are just two voting precincts for a Statesboro city election. Residents of City Council Districts 1 and 2 vote at Statesboro I Precinct, which is the William James Educational Complex at 150 Williams Road. Meanwhile, residents of council Districts 3, 4 and 5 must vote at the Statesboro II Precinct, which is at Pittman Park United Methodist Church at 1102 Fair Road.
But county precincts are different, so Statesboro residents who vote in the Bulloch ESPLOST referendum will need to go to the voting places where they vote in elections of county and state officials. For Statesboro residents, there are four of these: the Statesboro Precinct, which is also at the William Educational James Complex; the Fair Precinct, which is at the Kiwanis Fair Grounds on Highway 67 South; the Church Precinct, which is at Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church on South Zetterower Avenue; and Pittman Park Precinct, also at Pittman Park United Methodist Church.
Of course, Bulloch County residents outside of Statesboro will vote only in the county referendum and can do so at their assigned precincts across the county.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.