Macon-Bibb County voters will take their third stab at choosing a District 2 commissioner beginning Saturday morning, when early voting starts for the Jan. 14 special election.
Elections Supervisor Jeanetta Watson said nearly 8,000 registered voters live in the district, which former Macon City Councilmen Henry Ficklin and Larry Schlesinger are seeking to represent.
“It’s all done,” Watson said of preparations. “It’s all been reviewed and all correct now. People living in District 2 have now been put in the correct district.”
That wasn’t the case in the special election in September nor in the runoff between Schlesinger and Ficklin in October. Schlesinger had the most votes in the September contest with Ficklin and Paul Bronson. Then Schlesinger edged Ficklin by 26 votes in the October runoff.
However, Ficklin filed a lawsuit in October in Bibb County Superior Court, contending that the number of residents in District 2 who erroneously voted in other districts during the runoff was greater than the margin of victory and skewed the results.
Election officials said new state-mandated software caused residents across several districts to get the wrong ballots, but only District 2 had results close enough to cause another election to be called. Bibb County was among the first counties in the state to use the new software.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Boswell, who ordered the new election, refused to appoint an interim commissioner to cover the period between the new consolidated government taking office Dec. 31 and the Jan. 14 election.
Saturday’s voting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Board of Elections office, 2445 Pio Nono Ave. There will be one week of early voting that runs Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Jan. 14 voting will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at six District 2 precincts. Only residents living in District 2 will be able to vote.
Watson said the elections office so far has been relatively quiet, with about 20 absentee ballots requested.
She said it will cost about $60,000 to hold the election and that it’s likely someone from the Georgia Secretary of State’s office will be there to monitor it.
Watson said she sent letters to District 2 voters who cast ballots in other races to let them know they are eligible to vote in the Jan. 14 election.
“I hope we get the maximum turnout possible,” she said. “I hate it that things have happened this way.”
Residents with questions are asked to call the Board of Elections office at 478-621-6622.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.