Having to host at least three elections and for the first time open doors to weekend voting, Bulloch County’s poll workers and locations are in for a busy 2012.
Monday, the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration gathered in the county courthouse to confront the challenging schedule in its first meeting of the election-heavy year.
The group reviewed a calendar that marks dates for two primary elections leading up to a November general election, makes room for a pair of potential run-offs in August and December, and reserves three dates — one for each election — for voters to cast ballots on upcoming Saturdays.
According to the plan, polls will open March 6 for a Presidential Preference Primary, July 31 for a General Primary featuring local elections, and again November 6 for the General Election.
Last days for registering to vote are February 6 (Presidential Primary), July 2 (General Primary) and October 8 (General Election).
For the first time in Bulloch County, voters will be allowed to cast ballots on a Saturday prior to each election. The in-office absentee votes can be submitted at the Bulloch County Courthouse between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. February 25 (Presidential Primary), July 21 (General Primary) and October 27 (General Election). The weekend dates will provide citizens an extra day of voting in an early voting period that was reduced this year from 45 days to 21.
The board plans to post the calendar, which also lists days for qualifying as well as start and end dates of early voting periods, to its website and have it printed in local publications during coming weeks.
“The calendar includes all of the need-know-dates that the public might have questions about regarding elections,” said Elections Supervisor Patricia Jones.
Board members will also post signs around Georgia Southern University calling attention to a website where students, and the general public, can visit to discover where they are registered to vote. The site — www.vote.ga.gov — will also feature sample ballots for national and local races, and allow voters to find their local polling location.
According to Jones, the year will include plenty of prominent races for Bulloch County residents to decide.
“Everything with the exception of three county commission seats (1-B, 2-B, and 2-D) and four Board of Education offices (Districts 2, 4, 5 and 6) will be up for reelection,” she said — the list includes the office of Sheriff and multiple Bulloch County judgeships. “This is a big election year. Everyone is running.”
A referendum to allow liquor/alcohol sales by the drink in Bulloch will also appear on ballots.
If elections aren’t enough, the board will have a few more issues on its plate in coming months.
“This year a unique challenge is redistricting and doing elections at the same time,” said Jones. “County Commission districts, school board districts and state districts are all being redrawn.”
For more information about elections, people can contact the Bulloch County Board of Elections and Registration at (912) 764-6502.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.