In this week’s print edition, The Nugget erroneously listed the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners Districts on the ballot this year. This version of the story contains the correct districts and their current representatives. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Early voting for the 2020 Presidential Preference Primary starts starts Monday, March 2, and the next several weeks will be busy ones for elections office personnel as numerous local seats are up for grabs as well. That Monday is also the opening day of qualifying for local offices.
Seats up for election this year on the Board of Commissioners are the chairman, currently held by Chris Dockery; District 1, held by David Miller; District 2, held by Bobby Mayfield.
Other county positions up for election include School Board Districts 1 (Mera Turner) and 3 (Jim McClure); Judge of Probate Court (Michael Chastain); Chief Magistrate Judge (Randy Pruitt); Clerk of Superior Court (Rita Harkins); Tax Commissioner (Rachel Pruitt); Sheriff (Stacy Jarrard); Coroner (Jim Sheppard); and surveyor (John Gaston).
The last day to qualify for local office is Friday, March 6, at noon.
NEW VOTING MACHINES
New voting machines will be used for the first time state-wide.
“There’s not much difference from the old machines,” said Chief Registrar and Elections Manager Ashley Peck. “But we’re going to have a demo Feb. 25 here at the office, one a 3 p.m. and one at 6:30 p.m. so people can be prepared.”
Peck said voters will still go to the desk to receive an access card and use a touch-screen computer to mark their ballots.
“But then they will print the ballot out on paper to check. If it’s correct, they will take it to the tabulator to scan. Once scanned, their ballot has been cast,” Peck said.
Should you find something you want to change on the printed ballot, said Board of Elections’ Dottie Krull, “talk to a poll worker. They can start the process over.”
Krull said, “The new machines are very easy to work with, and should be relatively familiar to voters. I am impressed that every step of the way you have a chance to review your choices. And if you need help, just ask.”
The county spent no money on the 87 new machines—many more than will be needed in Lumpkin County’s single precinct.
“That’s more than we had of the old equipment,” Peck said, “but the state bases it on the number of registered voters. They were all provided by the state.”
Early voting in the presidential primary begins Monday, March 2 and runs through Friday, March 20. In addition to choosing a candidate for U.S. President, there are two local referendums on the ballot.
The ESPLOST (Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) fo the Lumpkin County School District would provide $2.5 million to be used to construct a new elementary school; improvement of existing schools, facilities and property; new technology, security and other equipment, including computer software and hardware; purchase of school buses and school vehicles, transportation equipment and facilities; purchase of textbooks, instructional resources and band instruments; land acquisition; and cost of issuing and interest of bonds to fund projects.
Also on the ballot is the question of whether or not the county should extend hours for Sunday sales of alcohol by the drink from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Also known as the “Brunch Bill,” the city passed last year.
Hours the first two weeks will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, March 14, voters may cast their ballot 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
The last week of early voting, hours will be 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Anyone may vote absentee by mail for any reason. Applications may be requested online at email@example.com or by calling 706-864-6279. Applications must be made for each election you wish to vote in unless you are:
• over 65 years of age
• physically disabled
• a U.S. service person stationed overseas
• a U.S. citizen currently out of the country
By checking the appropriate box under the Exceptions Section of the application, your ballot will automatically roll over for each upcoming election.
REGISTERING TO VOTE
The last day to register to vote or update your registration for the upcoming election is Monday, Feb. 24. In person is perhaps the surest way to be registered at this point. You can register at the Elections & Registration Office, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 56 Short Street; Department of Family and Children’s Services on Tipton Drive; or any Department of Motor Vehicles office.
You can also register online at the Secretary of States website, registertovote.sos.ga.gov.