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Early voting continues this week

Leading up to May 20 primary election

Posted: May 7, 2014 - 12:07am

Early voters turned out last week to cast their votes for the May 20 primary election.

The opportunity to vote in advance of the election continues through May 16 and include this Saturday.

Saturday voting days began in the 2012 election, said Nancy Gay, Board of Elections Executive Director.

“We only have to do it when there’s federal candidates on the ballot,” Gay said. “It’s a new requirement that the state has.”

Gay said 370 voters – 50 Democrats, 1 non-partisan and 319 Republicans – voted at the Evans Board of Election office during the first week of early voting. The office also mailed out 242 ballots of absentee voting and 98 have been returned.

Gay said turnout through Friday has been mediocre.

“That’s not great, but it could be worse,” Gay said, adding that lots of races on the ballot could draw more voters to the polls. “We’re hoping to get 20-30 percent (of active voters).”

The May 20 ballot includes races for two commission seats and a school board seat.

In the partisan County Commission races, incumbent Commission Chairman Ron Cross is challenged by local builder and political activist Jim Bartley. Two others, Doug Duncan, MAU Inc. vice president, and Martinez businessman and retired engineer Hafeez Chaudhry are competing to replace outgoing District 1 Commissioner Ron Thigpen.

The only contested race for the county Board of Education is in District 3, represented by incumbent Mike Sleeper. He is facing Staten Heard, a retired logistics executive who worked for General Motors and EZ-GO Textron.

District 4 Commissioner Bill Morris will face no opposition on the Republican ballot but will face Democratic Vernon Thomas Sr. in November.

Incumbent District 2 schools Trustee Kristi Baker is unopposed.

Voters also will be asked to choose candidates for state school superintendent, governor, U.S. Senate and House of representatives races. Sample ballots can be found online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

Early voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday through May 16 at the elections office, 500 Faircloth Drive, Building E, in Evans. Saturday voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the office.

Residents can view a sample ballot and confirm their voting location by visiting www.columbia
countyga.gov.

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