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Tuesday’s vote will settle west district commission race

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Republican voters in Pickens County will decide on the District 1 commission race between incumbent Jerry Barnes and challenger Amberle Godfrey in the primary runoff vote next Tuesday. This race for the District 1 seat has no Democratic opposition so the top vote getter next week will be the winner, without any November challenge.

Barnes took almost 48 percent of the vote in the May primary but with third candidate Bart Connelly in the race, the incumbent did not get the majority required to avoid the runoff. Connelly has since endorsed Godfrey in this race.

Republican voters will have several high profile races for statewide candidates, including governor with Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp; Lt. governor with Geoff Duncan and David Shafer and Secretary of State with David Belle Isle and Brad Raffensperger. 

Democratic party voters will have light work in wrapping up their ticket with only the state school superintendent race going to a runoff between Sid Chapman and Otha Thorton. 

As of Monday, 638 people had voted early, but the elections office said they had seen a solid uptick on voting that day – leading into the last week of early voting.

Elections supervisor Julianne Roberts would not speculate on turnout ahead of voting day, but did provide numbers from the last runoff election in the county. “In July 2014, we voted 16.22 percent (Election Day & Early Voting). We’re up to 638 (Monday afternoon) which is only three percent.  We voted 4.14 percent early in 2014.”

Roberts felt the west end commission race might be the main draw for those who have voted early as poll workers have had to explain to several voters at the Pioneer Road office that the commission race is only for voters in District 1, not county-wide. 

Voters who voted in the primary must continue voting in the same party’s ballots in the runoff. But voters who voted non-partisan or didn’t vote at all may select either of the party ballots.

Roberts noted (thus far) this is the first time they haven’t had voters questioning why they couldn’t “cross over” – choose a different party’s ballot in the runoff. “No one has tried to cross over so far,” she said. “It’s made it easy on us.”

As of Monday there had only been five people vote in the Democratic runoff for state school superintendent. 

Roberts strongly reminded all election day voters to go to their home precinct, not the Pioneer Road election office. On election day, no one votes at the elections office, all communities have their own polling places across the county. If you are unsure where your polling location is, contact the election office at phone 706-253-8781/ e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or look at the My Voter Page on the Georgia Secretary of State website. 

Roberts said people regularly show up on election day at the main election office to cast ballots. Some of them recall voting there previously (during early voting) and assume it is their regular poll.

“It can be a real problem if they drive all the way here from Ludville or Big Canoe and then I have to send them all the way back,” she said.

NOTE to Precinct 11 (Appalachian precinct Voters) on election day, the polling spot at the old Jasper Middle School campus has moved to a new room. It is still at the same campus but no longer at the rear of the school since the campus has been renovated into the Mt. Education Center and a law enforcement training school.

The voting area now is accessible through the leftmost set of double-doors at the front of the school. The room is the first room on the left when you enter through the doorway. There will be signs designating the correct doors to enter. 

Park in the front parking lot—NOT the back lot where all voters previously parked.