Middle Georgia polls see few early voters

lcorley@macon.comJuly 7, 2014 

Middle Georgia ballots are trickling in slowly one week after early voting began.

Bonnie Smith, deputy registrar for Macon-Bibb County’s Board of Elections, said the polls have been slower than usual.

“It’s slow because there’s so little on the ballot,” Smith said.

Charlene Maynard, elections secretary, said 496 people had voted in Macon-Bibb County as of Monday evening.

There is little on Bibb’s ballots.

The Democratic ballot features a race between Alisha Morgan and Valarie Wilson for state school superintendent.

On the Republican ballot, voters can choose between Jack Kingston and David Perdue for the open U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. The winner will face off with Democrat Michelle Nunn in November.

Also, the Republican candidates for state school superintendent are Michael Buck and Richard Woods.

Houston County is the only midstate county with local offices in play along with the statewide races. Still, early voting is slow in Houston County, with just 348 voters casting ballots through last Thursday.

“It’s going good ... a pretty good turnout (Monday),” said Beverly Nable, Houston County’s registration and elections assistant.

Houston County has two contested school board seats in its runoff. Both seats are nonpartisan.

Sheila Ashley and Hoke Morrow are vying for Post 6. There’s also a special election for Post 7 between Tannya Duncan and Bryan Upshaw. The winner will fill the unexpired term of David McMahan, who resigned in February.

With no other local offices being contested in several other midstate counties, turnout has been very light.

Debra Stephens, elections superintendent in Twiggs County, said about 18 people voted at the polls through last week, while Crawford County reported 43 voters.

Peach County also reported low turnout with a total of 88 early voters.

“It’s really quiet,” said Michelle Riley, Peach County’s elections supervisor. “The turnout is really slow.”

Marion Hatton, elections superintendent in Jones County, said an average of 25 voters a day are casting ballots there.

And in Monroe County, Deputy Registrar Kaye Warren said 83 early voters showed up to the polls and 47 absentee ballots have been collected through last week.

To take part in the runoff election, voters are not required to have voted in the May primary.

For those who did vote in the primary, they must stay with the party they cast votes for in May.

Early voting ends July 18 before regular voting day balloting July 22.

To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4382.

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