“It’s a big election year – I’ve never seen this many options for voters to decide this go-around,” Lynn Bailey, Richmond County Board of Elections Executive Director, said.
On May 20, Augusta-Richmond County voters will elect a mayor, four district-level commissioners and decide whether to impose a new special-purpose, location option sales tax.
The local nonpartisan races are in addition to numerous contested statewide party primaries including U.S. Senate and House, governor and state school superintendent.
“It’s a full ballot, with a lot of interesting races that are opposed across the board,” Bailey said.
Augusta voters who select a Democratic ballot also will weigh in on seven non-binding ballot questions and select a state senator to represent District 22, which has no Republican contenders. Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan ballots will be available.
Voters now have several options to register to vote or change their name or address information.
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office earlier this month unveiled online registration or registration using a new iPhone or Android app, called “GA Votes,” which is available to anyone who has a Georgia driver’s license.
“The coolest thing we have going on with voter registration is the mobile app and online,” Bailey said. “That someone can access this mobile app and completely register to vote if they have a driver’s license is an incredible convenience.”
The process is very secure, and identical to the one used when voters register at the time they obtain a driver’s license, she said.
Prospective voters must be 17 ½ years old, be a U.S. and Georgia citizen and resident or the county in which they seek to vote and cannot be serving a felony conviction or judicially determined to be mentally incompetent for voting purposes.
Other methods of registering to vote include completing and mailing an application – available at any public library or downloaded from the Secretary of State’s Web site – returning it to the board of elections office, 530 Greene St.
Bailey said she hadn’t observed much of an uptick in voter registration in advance of the May 20 election.
“I have not noticed a spike over the last few months,” she said. “I know we have had hundreds of blank applications that we’ve given to groups that are doing voter registration drives.”
Paper absentee ballots have been available since April 4. Bailey said the office had mailed out approximately 400 of them ahead of the May 20 election, but expects that number to grow.
“I would think with an election like this with so many local candidates, maybe 3,000 or so,” she said.