Election coming early in 2014

Published 12:15 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

While the Georgia primary elections are normally held in the mid-summer, in 2014 they have been moved up to May 20.
This has scheduled qualifying for elections the first week of March — sneaking up on residents that would like to register to vote or consider running for a position.
According to the Decatur Board of Elections and Registration, there are 22 elected positions within the county and this year, seven of those are up for re-election. This includes three seats on the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, three seats on the Decatur County Board of Education and the office of solicitor general.
“Qualifying fees will be determined this week and posted in the Post-Searchlight,” Chief Election Official for Decatur County, Doris White said. “Qualifying will go on the first week of March, which is earlier than normal.”
White said those wishing to register to vote can do so 30 days prior to the primary to be able to vote on May 20.
Within the Decatur County Board of Commissioners, Jan Godwin in District 1, Frank Loeffler in District 4 and Oliver Sellers in District 6 are up for re-election.
This week Godwin stated she would return for reelection, as did Sellers.
“We have come a long way and put in a lot of work for the county,” Sellers said. “But we still have a long way to go. We have a long ways to go to get the county in the right direction, so I will be running again.”
Godwin was appointed last year so she said this would be her first election.
Loeffler stated he was presently undecided about running again.
Decatur County Board of Education positions are non-partisan. Randall Jones in District 2, Dr. Sydney Cochran of District 4 and Jackie Grubbs of District 6 are up for reelection.
Jones stated he would not return for the race because, “there are new, fresh people that need to step in on the school board,” Jones said.
Both Grubbs and Cochran said they are presently undecided.
Ben Kirbo is solicitor general — another non-partisan seat up for reelection within the county.
There will be other reasons for residents to vote in the May primaries other than choosing a candidate. SPLOST, or the Special-purpose local-option sales tax, is up for a five-year renewal in both the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County. All expenditures of SPLOST funds must be used for capital outlay projects, or major projects of a permanent nature.