KAYE G. HELMS was one of the 1,000 local voters who had cast ballots of 4:30 p.m. Oct. 29.
This Friday, Nov. 1, is the last day of advance voting and as of Tuesday the number of ballots cast early in the countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum had grown to 1,000, which is up from 668 a week ago.
Advance voting for the Nov. 5 countywide Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum and the City of Cairo municipal general election ended at 4:30 Friday afternoon. According to Grady County Chief Registrar Malinda Butler, a grand total of 1,333 voters cast early votes in the SPLOST referendum. In the Cairo municipal general election, a grand total of 855 cast early votes.
Countywide, voters are being asked to approve or reject a request by the Grady County Commission and the city councils of Cairo and Whigham to approve a one percent sales tax for a period of six years beginning April 1, 2020 when the existing one percent sales tax expires and terminating on March 31, 2026.
The tax would generate not more than $18,000,000 over the life of the tax. If approved, the county would use its share of the proceeds for construction and equipment; parks and recreation capital improvements; upgrade and replace public safety equipment; and payment of previously incurred debt. If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters, the county would also be authorized to issue up to $4,500,000 in general obligation debt for the purposes stated above.
The City of Cairo would invest its share of the sales tax collections for drinking water capital improvements; waste water capital improvements; buildings and parks capital improvements; public safety equipment; public works equipment; drainage and stormwater improvements; and payment of previously incurred debt. If imposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the City of Cairo in the principal amount of $3,000,000 for the above capital outlay purposes and for the payment of capitalized interest on such debt.
Lastly, the City of Whigham would use its share of the SPLOST for streets and sidewalks; utility distribution and equipment; and for public safety.
A total of 855 Cairo voters have voted in the City of Cairo’s general election as of the end of advance voting on Friday.
As of Friday, 224 votes had been cast in District 1. In addition to the two Sunday alcohol sales questions on the ballot, District 1 voters are selecting their city councilman. Incumbent Mayor Pro Tem Lannis Thornton is being challenged by political newcomers Alicia Gurley and Ann Williams.
Incumbent Councilman Bobby Gwaltney is in a competitive race with Timia Brown for the District 3 post. As of the close of early voting on Friday, 235 votes had been cast by District 3 voters.
In Cairo District 5, as of Friday, 222 votes had been cast. District 5 voters can choose between incumbent Councilman Jerry Cox and challenger Emory Thomas Sr.
Without a council race to be decided in their districts, voters in Cairo districts 2 and 4 have been less eager to participate. The only issues on the municipal general election ballot in those two districts are the two questions regarding Sunday alcohol sales. In Cairo District 2, as of Friday, 98 votes have been cast, and in Cairo District 4, a total of 76 votes have been cast.
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 allowed.
City voters are reminded once again that unless they vote early there is a possibility, based on where they reside, that they could have to go to two different polling places next Tuesday in order to be able to vote in both the municipal general election and the countywide SPLOST referendum special election.
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 election. 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.
Next Tuesday, the county’s 13 polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. City voters who wait until election day will cast votes in the city’s general election at the Grady County Agri-Center like normal.
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.