You aren't going to believe this.
Starting one week from Friday - one week! - you can walk into the Columbia County Board of Elections Office and vote for president.
Seriously. I promise; I am not making this up.
Nancy Gay, the elections coordinator for the Board of Elections, sent the notice out the other day. Voting in the Feb. 5 Presidential Preference Primary is available via absentee starting Dec. 21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Board of Elections office, on Faircloth Drive behind the Government Complex, in Evans.
Presumably they'll be closed on Christmas and New Year's, though.
If you don't believe me - and frankly, on this, I don't want to believe me, either - call Nancy at (706) 868-3355 to get the details. Tell her I said Merry Christmas, OK?
Still, I can't help but be somewhat disoriented at the notion of voting four days before Christmas for an election that won't be decided until Nov. 4, 2008.
I think I'll wait until a little closer to Feb. 5. At least then I'll be voting in 2008 for an actual 2008 election.
Crowded in 2008
Speaking of elections, I'm not sure everyone has quite yet grasped how potentially crowded Columbia County's ballots will be next year - perhaps because, like that presidential primary, it's still so far away that no one wants to think about it.
But we will hold elections next year for all but one member of the Board of Education, and for three members of the County Commission. At least one of the school board seats won't have an incumbent, and none of the commission seats will.
In addition, because Barry Fleming is expected to leave the state House to run for Congress, his seat will be open.
At the very minimum, all of this means at least four people not currently in office will be elected in Columbia County next year.
Though it's doubtful, it's always possible someone will try to take on Clay Whittle for sheriff. His seat is up for re-election in 2008, as are the posts of probate court judge, clerk of court, tax commissioner and coroner. The incumbents all are expected to return.
These offices won't be the only things on the ballots next year, either. Though the county's current special-purpose, local-option sales tax won't expire until 2011, it can be renewed as early as 2008.
In any event, voters will have plenty to think about next year. So, with that in mind, could we please hold off on the voting now - at least until after Christmas?
Roasting, but no fire
For that matter, how are we supposed to be getting in the mood for Christmas when it's hot enough for shorts and T-shirts?
Harlem had a snow machine at their tree-lighting last week, but even that was just wishful thinking.
RIP the rooster
All of us have seen roadside memorials, somber reminders of those who have died in car crashes.
But I had to smile at one that's been set up on Furys Ferry Road, near Hardy McManus.
It's a gold cross, a couple of feet tall, featuring a round medallion on the front with an image of a rooster. It marks the spot where, a couple of weeks ago, the chicken crossed the road for the last time.
Before his unfortunate demise, this particular rooster pecked around on the roadside just about every day near Riverside Middle School. He seemed whimsically out of place in such a setting, and as such rarely failed to elicit a smile from suburban motorists.
I'm not sure who erected the little cross, but it's a nice touch.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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