The clock is ticking and it’s starting to tick loudly. When you wake up and read this, only 13 days will remain until the final balloting for the new government ends. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Sept. 17 to cast a ballot. Early voting has already begun at the Board of Elections office at Pio Nono and Eisenhower. But if last week’s voting snafu has taught us anything, it is to know who you are voting for. If the names look unfamiliar and are different from the one’s you’ve been studying -- stop. Do not cast the ballot. Ask one of the poll workers to make sure you are casting a ballot in the proper district.
The ballot is not long. There should only be two races for voters to decide, that for mayor and one commission district. The most complicated is the race for mayor where there are six candidates, Joe Allen, Charlie Bishop, David Cousino, C. Jack Ellis, Sam Hart and Robert Reichert. The other race is for a commission post. Those candidates will vary depending on the district. Poll workers cannot tell you who to vote for. They can tell you what district you live in. Every voter, just to be on the side of extreme caution, should double check the ballot. It’s OK to take a cheat sheet and if any questions arise, ask a poll worker to help clear them up.
This election may be the most important in this area’s history and a good turnout would send a clear message that our government structure and who runs it is important to every citizen. While we are the most mature republic on the face of the Earth, we rarely provide an example for the rest of the world. When we go to our voting precincts there are no armed guards. We don’t stick our fingers in an inkwell to show that we’ve voted. particularly when that mark of a voter could get you killed. We gripe about standing in long lines, but elsewhere in the world they not only stand in long lines, they had to walk to their polling place, many times several miles away from home. Unfortunately, we pray there is no rain and candidates have to run taxi services the day of the election to get people to the polls.
In the 2010 governor’s race, not one of the county’s districts had over a 50 percent turnout. Several were much worse. Can we do better? In the 2012 presidential race, Bibb County had a better than 73 percent turnout. Only 70 Georgia counties had a higher turnout. If only history would repeat itself.
So why vote? The men and women elected will decide what ordinances we will live by, what roads we travel and how much county services will cost us. They have much more impact than national or state officials.