When local Georgia voters went to the polls this morning for the Democratic and Republican primaries, the state’s top election official was on hand.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp stopped by the Columbia County Board of Elections, one of many stops.
“It’s good to be out,” he said. “It’s important that people understand we are all in this together. I think it’s important to stop by.”
Although his previous visits of county Boards of Election haven’t all occurred on election days, he said there’s a certain excitement that comes with seeing a staff going about its duties while voting is going on.
“Especially from the public’s perspective, this is what people associate with our office,” he said. “Fair and secure elections – that’s really what we strive for.”
Across the area this morning voting appeared to be handled with few problems.
Lynn Bailey, the Richmond County elections director, said voting has been smooth in the Augusta precincts, where a healthy turnout is expected in the race to replace retiring Sheriff Ronnie Strength.
The 12th Congressional District race has also sparked interest, as has the sales tax addition that would go to fund transportation improvements.
Charles Trotter, a Republican, showed up early to vote at the Julian Smith Casino precinct off Broad Street. He said he was voting for Rick Allen for Republican in the 12th District congressional race, but voted no on the transportation sales tax.
“I’ve known Rick for a long, long time and I believe he’s the best man for the job,” Trotter said.
Shanna Carkhum, 33, a Democrat, said she voted yes to TSPLOST and voted for Scott Peebles for sheriff.
“I prayed on it, and there was no question after that,” Carkhum said.
The primaries with more than two candidates could wind up in a runoff if no one gets more than half the vote.
The general election matchups won’t be determined until after the primary runoffs and the addition of candidates just signing up this week.
Staff Writers Bianca Cain Johnson and Walter C. Jones contributed to this report.