Early voting starts today in Georgia Senate District 11 Special Election

From the Bainbridge Post-Searchlight:

Early voting for the Jan. 8 special election to fill the vacant State Senate District 11 seat will begin on Dec. 26, and continue through Jan. 4.

Six people qualified to run in the special election, which will determine who will represent the district after incumbent John Bulloch resigned on Friday, Dec. 7.

Lisa Collins of Blakely, Ga., who had qualified as a candidate last week, has withdrawn from the race, according to Decatur County Chief of Elections Doris White. Collins’ name won’t be listed as a choice on electronic voting machines; however, her name may still be printed on paper ballots that are only used in special situations.

For the special election, anyone who wishes to vote using a paper absentee ballot must contact their county’s election office to request to have one mailed, White said. The Decatur County Board of Elections and Voter Registration office can be contacted at (229) 243-2087.

Early voting will be conducted in Decatur County at the Fairgrounds off Vada Road.

Between Dec. 26 through Dec. 28, registered voters may cast ballots in person between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Dec. 31, as well as Jan. 2 through Jan. 4, early voting will be held between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

No voting will be conducted on New Year’s Day, and there will be no early voting after Jan. 4.

Because it is a special election, all six candidates will be listed together on the ballot. Their names will be listed alphabetically, with their party listed beneath their name. Voters will be able to select from any of the seven candidates, regardless of political party preference.

The six candidates, in alphabetical order, are as follows: Marshall Berman, Republican from Thomasville; Dean Burke, Republican from Bainbridge; Brad Hughes, Republican from Blakely, Ga.; Mike Keown, Republican from Coolidge, Ga.; Eugene McNease, Republican from Thomasville, Ga.; and Jeffrey G. Bivins, Libertarian from Cairo, Ga.

Special election costs

When Burke qualified to run for the State Senate seat, his Bainbridge City Council seat was automatically vacated, due to state law related to who is eligible to run for state office, White said.

The City of Bainbridge’s charter states, “In the event that the office of mayor or councilmember shall become vacant … the city council or those remaining shall order a special election to fill the balance of the unexpired term of such official.”

Burke — who held Council District B, Post 6 — had just been re-elected in 2011, so the balance of his term will last until Dec. 31, 2015.

However, it’s not yet clear when the Bainbridge City Council will order an election to be held to fill Burke’s vacated seat, City Manager Chris Hobby said Tuesday.

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