Voting deadline nears

By Michael Davis

Jared Wicker realizes the importance of voting. The 18-year-old Union Grove High School graduate was "elected" as president of his high school government class and when his teacher passed out voter registration forms last year, he registered to vote in real elections as soon as he could.

"I think that's the difference between this country and other countries," he said of voting. "I want to share what I think with the government," he added.

The last day to make sure you can share what you think in the July 20 primaries is June 21 – the last day to have your voter registration in to local registrars.

Though she hasn't seen a sharp increase in voter registration as the deadline approaches, Annie C. Bright, Clayton County's director of elections and registration, expects to see more applications in the coming weeks.

With 119,186 registered voters on both the active and inactive list in Clayton County, Bright said she expects the advanced voting session the week before the primary to be busier than in the Mar. 2 election.

"We had a pretty good turnout that week and we'll probably have more this time," Bright said.

Henry County registrar and election director Janet Shellnutt said that while many do turn out to vote in the July primaries, "unfortunately more people register for (the) November" general election.

As of Thursday, Shellnutt said there were 82,444 residents registered to vote in July but she expects that number to grow to over 83,000 by the deadline.

She added that because of district line changes that came during the last session of the Georgia General Assembly, voter registration cards will have to be shipped out to all counties in the state so that voters know which precinct to vote in.

She said that some of House and Senate lines were a little more clear in Henry County, and "ought be able to help people look at the candidates."

Election officials say that those who believe that they are registered, should check with their local registrar before June 21 to make sure they have not been recently removed from the roll because of inactivity and look for their registration card to come in the mail.

Shellnutt said the cards should be shipped by June 15.

The Secretary of State's office will place voters on the "inactive" list after failing to vote in two general elections but voting in the next general election will put voters back on the active list.

For more information on how to register or to download a form, visit the Secretary of State's Web site at www.sos.state.ga.us.