589 vote during early voting

Published 6:20 pm Friday, January 4, 2013

A total of 589 Decatur County voters have already cast their vote to determine who will succeed State Sen. John Bulloch, who resigned in December.

Early voting was held in the county from Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Friday, Jan. 4, at various times at the county’s fairgrounds. The early voting period concluded Friday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m.

Peggy Richardson, clerk of voter registration for Decatur County, said that 589 Decatur County citizens cast their ballot during the early voting period.

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Doris White, chief elections official for Decatur County, said that it was too early to speculate about voter turnout in the election, but she projects “between five and 10 percent.” She noted that about 100 voters cast their ballots on Friday, the final day of early voting.

Bulloch, who represented District 11, which includes Decatur County, resigned from his seat in December, after battling health problems. Six candidates qualified to run for the seat in Tuesday’s special election. In alphabetical order, they are Marshall Berman, a Republican from Thomasville, Ga.; Dr. Dean Burke, a Republican from Bainbridge; Brad Hughes, a Republican from Blakely, Ga.; Mike Keown, a Republican from Coolidge, Ga.; Eugene McNease, a Republican from Thomasville; and Jeffrey G. Bivins, a Libertarian from Cairo, Ga.

All nine county voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, Richardson said. If no candidate earns more than 50 percent of the votes, a runoff election will be scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5.

White said the Decatur County Board of Elections and Voter Registration is projecting that voter turnout could be low in the special election. However, voter turnout could be higher in Decatur County, due to the fact that Burke is from Bainbridge.

“Our projection could be higher than the rest of the district, simply because Dr. Burke is from here and on the ballot,” White said. “If there wasn’t a local candidate on the ballot, the turnout would likely be very, very low.”

All registered voters in Decatur County are eligible to participate in Tuesday’s special election.

Georgia law requires Georgia residents to show photo identification when voting in person.

The IDs acceptable are the following: Any valid state or federal government photo ID, including a free voter ID card issued by the Decatur County registrar’s office located at the Courthouse Annex at the corner of Water and Crawford streets or the Georgia Department of Driver Services; a Georgia driver’s license, even if expired; valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state; valid U.S. passport ID; valid U.S. military photo ID; and valid tribal photo ID.

For additional information about Georgia’s photo ID requirement please visit www.GAPhotoID.com.