Advance voting starts Monday in Georgia for the July 15 primary election.
Columbia County voters wishing to cast an early ballot can do so at the county Board of Elections office, 500 Faircloth Drive, Building E, Evans, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday.
During the summer months, when many people take vacations, advance voting provides an alternative for those unable to vote July 15, said Board of Elections Director Deborah Marshall. "It's just a convenience for voters to go ahead and cast a ballot early."
It's also convenient for voters wanting to avoid lines on election day, Marshall said.
Because the election is a party primary, voters must choose Republican, Democrat or nonpartisan ballot. No Democrats are running in local races, so voters must choose a Republican ballot to vote in most of the contested races.
Voters who choose a nonpartisan ballot will be limited to voting in the county commission District 4 special election, which appears on all ballots in District 4, the Grovetown City Council race or the uncontested race for Harlem mayor.
Contested local races that voters will see on Republican ballots, depending on where they live, might include Lee Anderson and Brett McGuire for state House District 117, incumbent Ben Harbin and Lee Benedict for state House District 118, Deanne Hall and Charles Allen for county Commission District 3, Scott Dean and David Payne for Commission District 4, and incumbent Paul Broun and Barry Fleming for U.S. House District 10.
The race between Dean and Payne in District 4 appears on all ballots for precincts in that district, as does the race for Grovetown City Council between Barry Davis and Theoplis Knight.
Unopposed Republican candidates on the ballot include state Sen. Bill Jackson, state Rep. Barbara Sims, District 2 commission candidate Trey Allen, Probate Judge Pat Hardaway, Chief Magistrate Wade Padgett, Sheriff Clay Whittle, Tax Commissioner Kay Allen, Clerk of Superior Court Cindy Mason and Coroner Vernon Collins.
Each party's ballot also contains nonbinding straw-poll questions.
The Republican ballot includes five questions, while the Democratic ballot has seven.
The list of all questions and a sample ballot for either party are available at the county's Web site at www.columbiacountyga.gov.
For information on advance voting, call (706) 868-3355.
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