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Early voting is underway and local elections officials report that the turnout in the first two days has been very slow.
At the close of business Tuesday, only 122 voters had cast ballots in the primary election, according to Grady County chief registrar Malinda Butler.
It has been even slower at the Grady Cultural Center, where the City of Cairo’s special election is being conducted. Municipal election superintendent Dana W. Barfield reports that only 27 city voters have voted in the first two days of in-person early voting.
On a positive note, of the 3,474 absentee ballot applications processed by the county’s chief registrar, nearly half of them have already been voted and returned.
According to Mrs. Butler, 1,544 absentee ballots have been voted and returned by registered voters as of the close of business Tuesday. Of those 1,544 ballots, 1,032 were republican ballots; 485 were democratic ballots and 27 were nonpartisan ballots.
On the city side of the ledger, Mrs. Barfield reports that she had received requests for 134 absentee ballot applications, and 80 of those have been returned and absentee ballots mailed to registered city voters, but as of Tuesday none of the ballots had been voted and returned.
The primary republican ballot features the hotly contested race for sheriff between incumbent Sheriff Harry Young and his republican challengers Steve Clark, Duke Donaldson, and Jared Evans. The republican nominee will face the lone democrat in the sheriff’s race, Donald “Dickie” Thomas, in November.
Another competitive race on the republican ballot is for tax commissioner. Republican Bobby Newmons is challenging incumbent republican Tax Commissioner Barbara Darus.
In district races on the republican ballot, incumbent June Knight is being challenged by Richard Jordan for the republican nomination for District 1 county commission with the winner facing democrat Ralph Harris in November; incumbent Keith Moye faces off with opponent Celina Sholar for the republican nomination for District 3 county commission.
Voters countywide will also be asked to approve or oppose a new one percent sales tax that can only be spent on transportation related projects. The TSPLOST is projected to generate approximately $15 million over five years and the money would be split between the county and the cities of Cairo and Whigham.
The only race on the City of Cairo’s special election ballot is for mayor. That race features Emory Thomas Sr., and Howard Thrower III. The winner will fill the unexpired term of former mayor Booker Gainor who vacated his office to seek election to the Georgia House of Representatives.
Advance voting for the general primary takes place at the Grady County Courthouse. Voting in the city’s special election takes place at the Grady Cultural Center, 101 First Street N.W.
“We are reminding voters to make sure and vote in both elections,” Mrs. Barfield said.
Early voting will continue through 4:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5 and election day is Tuesday, June 9. There will be one day of Saturday voting, on May 30, for the general election and it will be held at the courthouse from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The City of Cairo is not conducting any Saturday voting.
Voters are reminded that election day for the City of Cairo special election will not be held at the Agri-Center, which is the traditional polling place. Due to the general primary taking place on the same day, the city election will be conducted at the Grady Cultural Center.
Hours for early voting are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.