Bibb County residents get early jump on early voting

pramati@macon.comJune 28, 2011 

  • Voting information

    Early voting began Monday in Bibb County and will begin in Houston, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties during the next couple of weeks. Voters must present a picture ID when they vote.
    For more information about voting, voters can contact the boards of elections:
    In Bibb County, call (478) 621-6622 or visit www.co.bibb.ga.us/BOE/BOE.aspx.
    In Houston County, call (478) 987-1973 or visit www.houstoncountyga.com/residents/board-of-elections.
    In Twiggs County, call (478) 945-3639 or visit www.twiggscounty.us/index.php?Itemid=37&id=87&option=com_content&task=view.
    In Wilkinson County, call (478) 946-2188 or visit www.wilkinsoncounty.net/wilco_elections.htm.

Early voting in Bibb County wasn’t supposed to start until Tuesday, but with the voting machines already set up, election officials started the balloting a day early.

By the end of the day Monday, 117 people had showed up to cast their votes in Macon municipal and statewide elections, officials said. The primary is July 19.

Carol Martin, of Macon, said she likes to take advantage of casting her ballot early. In Bibb County, early voting that begins this week ends July 15.

“I always vote early because it’s hard for me to get here with my work,” she said Monday, one of her days off.

In addition to municipal races in Macon, voters will select a new representative for House District 139, which covers parts of the city. Meanwhile, voters in Twiggs County and portions of Bibb, Houston and Wilkinson counties will cast ballots in the race for the vacant Senate District 26 seat.

Officials said about 4,000 of the approximately 5,700 voters in Wilkinson County can vote in the non-partisan Senate race, while only 5,644 voters of Houston County’s 77,197 registered voters can cast ballots in that race. In Bibb County, about 54,000 of the 84,284 registered voters can vote in the Senate contest.

In the House race, a little less than 20,000 of Bibb’s voters are eligible to cast ballots.

In the non-partisan special election that coincides with the municipal primary, David Lucas, who previously held the House 139 seat, former Macon City Council President Miriam Paris and political newcomer Bobby Gale are vying for the Senate seat. If a run-off is necessary, it will be held Aug. 16.

Late Monday afternoon, local optometrist James Beverly -- who is facing Anissa Jones in the non-partisan special election for the open House seat -- was on the side of Pio Nono Avenue near the Bibb County Board of Elections office holding a sign and waving to passing motorists.

Bibb County is the only one of the four midstate counties to start voting.

An official in Houston County said early voting will take place in the Houston County Annex Building in Warner Robins July 11-15. However, elections clerk Debra Presswood said the county hasn’t yet received its paper ballots, so officials aren’t certain when early voting will take place at the county’s main office in Perry. She said officials hope to start Friday.

That was the case in Twiggs County, in which officials said they also were waiting for the ballots and hoped to have more information Wednesday.

Tracy Strange, registrar in Wilkinson County, said early voting there would run July 5-15 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Ken Pryor voted Monday in Bibb County and said he often votes early.

“I just decided to go and get it over with,” he said.

After casting her vote, Martin said she wished more people showed up at the polls, either early or on the day of the election.

“Macon’s my home, and Bibb County is my home,” she said. “Everyone needs to get out and vote. It’s an honor to vote. It’s in the best interest of the community to see the right choices are made for our city.”

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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