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Early runoff voting begins

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Courtesy MDJ

Early voting for the Aug. 21 runoff elections begins today and will run through Friday at five locations across Cobb.

The Republican ballot has three races: county chairman; clerk of superior court; and, in west-central Cobb, school board post 7.

The Democratic ballot has two races, neither of them county-wide. In southwest Cobb, voters will choose the District 4 commissioner. In south-central Cobb, voters will choose the state representative for House District 41.

The sole nonpartisan race is for a seat on Cobb State Court.

Janine Eveler, Cobb Elections director, said voters who cast either a Republican or Democratic ballot in the July 31 primary must vote the same party’s ballot in the runoff.

But those who voted nonpartisan, or who did not vote, in the July 31 primary may choose either a partisan or nonpartisan ballot in the runoff.

“Voters who selected a nonpartisan ballot in the primary may select any of the three ballot options in the runoff. Voters who did not vote in the July 31st primary at all may vote in the runoff and may choose any ballot,” she said.

Cobb voters can cast a ballot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today through Friday at any of these locations:

  • East Cobb Government Service Center, 4400 Lower Roswell Road, Marietta, 30068
  • South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Dr., Mableton, 30126
  • Northstar Church, 3413 Blue Springs Rd., Kennesaw, 30144
  • Boots Ward Recreation Center at Lost Mountain Park, 4845 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs, 30127
  • Cobb Elections Main Office, 736 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, 30064

There will be no voting on Monday, Aug. 20. All regular precinct polls will be open Aug. 21 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and results will again be posted on the Georgia Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ga.gov after the polls close.

As a reminder, voters who believe they have been given an incorrect or incomplete ballot should notify a poll worker or the elections office before casting the ballot.

The Republican runoff for county chairman features Bill Byrne against incumbent Tim Lee. In the July 31 vote, Lee lead a four-person field with 29,024 votes (40%), and Byrne placed second with 19,388 votes (27%).

In the GOP race for clerk of superior court, Rebecca Keaton was first in the three-person field with 32,215 votes (48%), and John H. Skelton was next with 26,329 votes (39%) in the July 31 vote.

The winner in the clerk’s race is expected to be the one taking office in January.

GOP voters in west-central Cobb will choose between Larry Darnell and Brad Wheeler. In the July 31 vote, Wheeler led the three-person field with 3,396 votes (36%), and Darnell had 3,119 votes (32%). The runoff winner will face incumbent Democrat Alison Bartlett on Nov. 6.

The Democratic runoff for county commissioner in southwest Cobb District 4 features Lisa Cupid challenging incumbent Woody Thompson. Cupid led the crowded, six-person field in the July 31 voting with 4,317 votes (39%), and Thompson garnered 2,941 votes (27%).

Democratic voters in House District 41, which has previously been represented by retiring Democrat Terry Johnson, will choose between Diana L. Eckles and Michael Smith. Smith was the leading vote-getter in July 31 voting, with 1,070 votes (42%), and Eckles took 866 votes (35%).

All runoff voters will decide on a new face for the Cobb State Court bench. The nonpartisan race features attorneys Larry Burke and Marsha Lake. Lake led the four-person field in July 31 voting, with 36,854 votes (39%), and Burke took 24,870 votes (26%).

Elections Director Eveler said she doesn’t know what the runoff turnout will be like. In the July 31 vote, about 31 percent of Cobb’s 398,052 registered voters cast ballots.

By comparison, in the August 2010 runoff, which featured mostly Republican statewide races, such as for governor and attorney general, but also the northeast Cobb commission seat race, turnout was about 16 percent, whereas 23 percent of Cobb voters had cast ballots in the general primary a month earlier.

The requirement to vote along party lines has some south Cobb residents feeling cheated, because they must choose between voting for the district commissioner or the county chairman. They can’t vote for both, because the runoff for chairman is between Republicans Byrne and Lee, and the runoff for district 4 commissioner is between Democrats Cupid and Thompson.

But since no opposition is known for either race on Nov. 6, the runoffs will likely decide the winner in each race.

Cupid said she’s heard complaints from many citizens about the partisanship.

“There are so many voters who don’t want to be locked in a party,” she said.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – News, Sports, Classifieds, Businesses in Marietta, GA

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, August 13, 2012. Written by Lindsay Field. Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Early runoff voting begins)

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