Starting Monday, voters will get the chance to cast their ballot one week early in the races for the 10th Congressional District and State Senate District 24 seats.
Advance-voting week in Columbia County will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday at the county's new Board of Elections office at 500 Faircloth Drive in Building E of the Evans Government Complex.
"We'll have 18 machines set up here, so we should be able to get them out pretty quickly," said Debbie Marshall, the county's director of elections, adding that she's expecting an overall voter turnout of about 20 to 25 percent.
The county, she said, has a total of 71,362 registered voters, with 63,388 being considered active.
In the 10th Congressional District race, voters will be asked to choose from 10 listed candidates or write in their own choice. The congressional seat was vacated upon the death of Charlie Norwood in February.
Those running to fill the unexpired term, which lasts through the end of 2008, are: Paul Broun, Republican; Denise Freeman, Democrat; Bill Greene, Republican; James Marlow, Democrat; Mark Myers, Republican; Evita Paschall, Democrat; Nate Pulliam, Republican; Jim Sendelbach, Libertarian; Erik M. Underwood, Republican; and Jim Whitehead, Republican.
In the state senate seat, which is being vacated by Whitehead as he runs for the former Norwood seat, the following four candidates will be on the ballot: Lee Benedict, Republican; William (Bill) Jackson, Republican; Brett McGuire, Republican; and Scott C. Nichols, Democrat.
The person elected to finish that unexpired term also will serve through the end of 2008.
In either of the two races, should one candidate not receive 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters would face one another again in a July 17 runoff.
In the June 19 election, Columbia County voters also will be asked to vote yes or no on authorizing the county to exercise redevelopment powers, which would allow the County Commission to establish Tax Allocation Districts, or TADs.
A TAD would freeze the assessed value of property in a specific area and allow any increases in values over that frozen figure to go toward infrastructure improvements in the defined district.
County officials have said that, if approved, such a tool could help them redevelop parts of Martinez and possibly the closed landfill on Baker Place Road.
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