Early voter turnout low: only five show for municipal election

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, October 23, 2013

At the Decatur County fairgrounds poll location, poll workers have sat quietly this week, reading books and waiting for voters that have yet to show up.
The polls for the Bainbridge City Council municipal election have seen low numbers in the first week of early voting with only five residents so far showing to cast ballots in the seven days they have been open.
Polls have been open since Monday, Oct. 14, at the fair grounds and will stay open on specific days until Election Day Nov. 5.
Only one race for city council is running with opposition. Doris White, chief election official for Decatur County, said City of Bainbridge Alderman Post 2, District A has two qualified candidates running while other posts are incumbent seats. Mayor Edward Reynolds, Post 1 at large Glennie Cox Bench and Post 2 District B Phil Long are all incumbents, running unopposed for this election.
Richard A. Mosley II and incumbent Joe L. Sweet are vying for the District A seat.
Poll workers report five voters have showed since the first day of early voting began.
City manager Chris Hobby reported 5,086 residents in the district where Sweet and Mosley are competing. Approximately 3,608 of those residents are of age to vote, but it is unknown how many of those are registered.
Hobby estimates election costs for this election will be $12,000 in total after paying poll workers, preparing the ballots and other expenses incurred by the elections office.
“This has been the most dead election I have think I have seen,” White said. “No one has even been interested.”
The elections office in the county reports they have not received any phone calls in the last several weeks from voters wanting to know more information.
“We just want to encourage everyone from District A to go out and vote,” White said.
Polls will be open for early voting for the remainder of the week — Oct. 23-25 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds.
From Oct. 28- Nov. 1, polls will be open at the same location from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Election Day, Nov. 5, the following precincts will be open: the coliseum, fairgrounds, Mt. Pleasant and West Bainbridge.
Richard A. Mosley II is running for office for the first time. Mosley said he thought there would be a lot more people out there that were running, “so I thought I had some interesting ideas and why not. I want to see change in Bainbridge,” Mosley said.
Specifically he would like to see more jobs come to the city and is also interested in looking into making Bainbridge a free economic zone.
“I Would like to see Bainbridge move in the direction of adopting a free economic zone policy which is a designated area where small businesses are taxed very lightly or not at all to encourage growth and investment,” Mosley said. “There are several cities internationally that have adopted this policy in places such as South Korea, many cities in south America and just last moth China launched it’s first free economic zone program in an area of Shanghai.”
Mosley is currently unemployed but said he spends his time volunteering with civil liberty organizations. He is open about his autism and said he is a, “definite advocate for people with disabilities both physically and mentally.”
In August, Mosley was arrested on charges of marijuana possession and faced similar charges in 2009. In response, Mosley said what he did was wrong, but he feels, “the city is overly aggressive in sentencing with personal possession charges.”
Incumbent Joe Sweet said he has held the District A seat for almost 20 years now. Sweet is a retired assistant principal of Bainbridge High School and Bainbridge Middl School.
“We have some good programs going on and we are dealing with development of downtown Bainbridge and river walk projects and we just need to continue what we are doing,” Sweet said.
He said as for changes he wants to see, he only wants to see progressive changes such as the items in the past that improved for the better like the Earl May Boat Basin.
Sweet said he would encourage residents to vote because he needs all the support he can get.

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