With Election Day still to go, 920 people have cast ballots in Statesboro’s city election, more than half as many as voted in the general election phase of the last mayoral race in 2013.
When the 15 days of early voting concluded at 5 p.m. Friday, 887 Statesboro residents had signed in to vote in-person in the city election, while 33 had returned paper absentee ballots, adding up to the 920 total. Another 47 absentee ballots had been mailed out, according to the numbers reported by Bulloch County Election Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones.
Meanwhile 1,362 Bulloch County voters had voted early in-person in the Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum, Jones reported. For that election, 42 absentee paper ballots had been returned and another 39 mailed out. So, 1,404 voters have participated in the countywide special election thus far.
On Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., the city’s two municipal election precincts will be open for the mayoral election while the county’s 16 precinct polling places will be open for the EPLOST referendum. Absentee ballots returned by 7 p.m. Tuesday will also be counted, Jones confirmed. But advanced voting has now ended, and there will be no in-person voting Monday.
Statesboro is choosing from three candidates for mayor, challengers John Grotheer and Jonathan McCollar and incumbent Mayor Jan Moore. Two districts also have incumbent council members on their ballots, but they are unopposed.
In 2013, when there were four candidates for mayor plus one contested council race, only 1,592 voters participated in the city’s general election. McCollar and Moore, then a new candidate for mayor, advanced to a runoff.
If another 673 Statesboro residents cast city ballots Tuesday, the total voter count will equal that from four years ago, when there were just 441 advanced voters and 78 absentee voters but 1,073 precinct voters on Election Day.
If this year’s voter count in the city election equaled 2013’s, turnout would be a mere 12. 4 percent, since there are now 12,849 active city voters, according to Jones’ records.
But there are 37,296 active registered voters throughout Bulloch County. So, although the raw number of voters is higher, proportional turnout in the county ESPLOST referendum has been lower than the city election turnout to this point.
Voters need their photo ID, as in other elections, to vote Tuesday. Because the city’s only voting precincts are those with polls at the William James Educational Complex and Pittman Park United Methodist Church, Statesboro residents assigned other precincts for county elections will have to vote at two different locations to participate in both elections.
Registered voters can identify their county and municipal, or city, voting places by logging in with their name, birthdate and the county name at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov, Georgia’s statewide voter information website.