The nicest folks in the world work at the Columbia County Board of Elections.
They asked me to write something nice about them after I voted Tuesday. I told them I would.
It's surprising to see so many people voting early; the number of voters taking advantage of the opportunity in Columbia County this past week rose past 6,000.
That's pretty spectacular. But one thing would push voter turnout over the top: Saturday voting.
Let's face it. There are lots of people who work Monday-Friday, some of them with commuting times that make it tough to do anything during regular office hours on a weekday.
With Saturday available, though, working people wouldn't have to scramble to vote. And it would probably even the balance between those pulling the wagon, and those merely riding in it: after all, if you don't have a job, you've got all the time in the world to vote during the week.
Having said all that, it's truly amazing how easy it's become to vote - especially when you consider that not so long ago, the only way to vote in Columbia County was to go to the Appling Courthouse on the one actual "election day."
During my brief session at the polls Tuesday, I did something I have never done since we switched to electronic voting: I entered a write-in vote.
It's very easy, though it's meaningless. To cast a write-in vote, you simply press the "write-in" box and tap in the name when the keyboard pops up.
We love the function around here, because after the election we laugh at all the votes for Mickey Mouse. But those votes don't count unless the write-in is for a registered write-in candidate (who must be a person, not a cartoon character).
But even though my write-in didn't count, I cast it to make a point.
Rather than voting for the unopposed Wade Padgett for chief magistrate, I wrote in the name of the current associate magistrate: Bobby Christine.
Last month, Gov. Sonny Perdue named Padgett to replace retiring Superior Court Judge Duncan Wheale. Wheale will be in office until the end of January; Padgett's new term as magistrate starts Jan. 1.
That means Padgett is being elected to an office for which he has already known for a month that he won't actually serve. Instead, soon after being sworn in, he will step down and take over for Wheale.
That will leave a vacancy for chief magistrate. According to the law, that vacancy - even though it is for the full four years of the term - will be filled by a vote of the Augusta Judicial Circuit's superior court judges.
Christine is the prohibitive favorite to get the appointment. So rather than wait for the political theater to play out - electing Padgett to an office that he knows he won't fill - I decided to just cut to the chase and write in Bobby Christine.
No, it doesn't count. And no, it doesn't change the fact that it feels just a tad bizarre going through these motions when we know none of it actually matters - not even Padgett's election.
But at least, thanks to the power of the write-in vote, I had my say.
Speaking of judges, just after I mentioned a few words the other day about the race for the Georgia Court of Appeals, the State Bar of Georgia sent out an announcement in which its members ranked the candidates for the post.
In tune with my comments, which were based on an evaluation from a trusted legal advisor, the bar's members ranked Bruce Edenfield as the top candidate among the seven seeking to succeed Judge John H. Ruffin.
Their evaluation ranked Christopher McFadden second, with Michael Meyer von Bremen third.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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