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The daily average of early voters dropped in half the first two days of this week after having gotten off to a strong start last week, according to Grady County Chief Registrar Malinda Butler, who is managing the early voting for both the countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum and the City of Cairo general election.
“It has slowed down tremendously. I hope the rest of the week as well as next week picks up. Voters who do not vote early may have to go to two different locations to cast their ballots on Election Day,” the chief registrar said.
At the close of business Friday, 558 voters had voted in the countywide SPLOST referendum or an average of just over 111 per day. By the close of business Tuesday, an additional 110 voters had voted, a grand total of 668, which averages out to 55 per day.
In the City of Cairo general election on Friday, 389 ballots had been cast, and by Tuesday that total had grown to 450.
Of those 450 votes, the majority had been cast in Cairo District 1 where incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Lannis Thornton is being challenged by Alicia Gurley and Ann Williams for the District 1 city council post.
The next highest voter participation is in Cairo District 5 with 113 votes being cast as of Tuesday. In District 5, incumbent Councilman Jerry Cox faces Emory Thomas Sr., for the council seat.
In District 3, 111 votes had been cast and the council race there is between incumbent, veteran Councilman Bobby Gwaltney and political newcomer Timia Brown.
In District 2 and District 4 the only ballot items are the two Sunday sales questions. Citywide, voters are being asked whether or not alcoholic beverages can be sold by the package or by the drink on Sundays. In the unincorporated sections of Grady County, alcoholic beverages can already be purchased by the package on Sundays, but currently in Cairo neither package sales nor by the drink sales are prohibited.
The Sunday sales question appears to be drawing less interest with only 44 votes being cast in District 2 and 41 in District 4.
This is a rare election when both a county referendum and City of Cairo general election are taking place at the same time and voters are casting early votes in both elections at a single location.
Advance voting for both the countywide referendum and the City of Cairo general and special election are being conducted at the Board of Registrars Office, located at 24 Third Ave. N.E., behind the Grady County Courthouse. The hours for early voting are 8:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Election officials remind city residents that in order to prevent the possibility of having to go to two different polling places to cast ballots on Nov. 5 they should take advantage of the advance voting period, which runs through 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 1.
By waiting until election day, some city residents will be required to go to the city polling place, which is the Grady County Agri-Center, on election day to vote in the city’s general and special election and then go to their respective county polling place, Holder Park (Cairo 4) or the Cairo Municipal Airport (Woodland) to vote in the countywide SPLOST referendum.
Grady County’s Cairo 5 precinct is located at the Grady County Agri-Center, which is also home for all election day voting for the City of Cairo general and special elections. The main room of the Agri-Center will be divided up into two separate areas for the conducting of the countywide SPLOST referendum and on the other side of the room for the City of Cairo general and special election, according to Grady Election Superintendent Denise Maddox.
Advance voting wraps up on Friday, Nov. 1 at 4:30 p.m.
Voters are also reminded to bring an accepted form of identification when voting. Proper identification required and accepted shall be:
A Georgia driver’s license properly issued by the appropriate state agency;
A valid identification card issued by a branch, department, agency, or entity of the State of Georgia, any other state, or United States authorized by law to issue personal identification, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector;
A valid United States passport;
A valid employee identification card containing a photograph of the elector and issued by any branch, department, agency, or entity of the United States government, this state, or any county, municipality, board, authority, or other entity of this state;
A valid United States military identification card, provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the elector; or
A valid tribal identification card containing a photograph of the elector.