By Ed Brock
Jonesboro will have its absentee ballots for the upcoming municipal election ready by Wednesday.
That's well within the 21-day deadline for such ballots to be prepared, but Beverly Lester is still concerned. Her son Brian Hildreth is serving in the military and is stationed in Tikrit, Iraq.
"I'm afraid his ballot isn't going to get to him in time for him to vote," Lester said.
The election is scheduled for Nov. 8, more than 30 days after the ballot becomes available to residents of the city who don't expect to be present on election day.
"There is not a problem. We've been following protocol," said Donna Nettleton, deputy registrar for the city.
Nettleton said the city has received one request for an absentee ballot this year, Hildreth's, and she has no way of telling how many will be requested. In a city with about 1,535 registered voters the use of absentee ballots is not common.
"We didn't have more than, I would say, 20 or so (absentee ballots in the November 2003 election,)" Nettleton said.
Residents can call Jonesboro City Hall at (770) 478-3800 to request an application for the absentee ballot, or they can go to city hall at 124 North Avenue. It takes a day or two to process the application which can be faxed back to city hall.
The ballots must be received by Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
Up for grabs in this election are three at-large city council seats with four-year terms. On the same date there will be a special election for the two years remaining on Councilman Clifford "Rip" Sewell's seat.
Sewell has announced his intention to retire.
In the run for the three four-year term seats the incumbents are Yvette McDonald, Wallace Norrington and Rick Younce. Challenging them are Luther Maddox, Clarence Mann and Pamela Scott.
Maddox, a semi-retired consultant, is a former council member who ran for mayor in the 2003 election. He lives at 106 Woodhaven Drive.
Mann lives at 108 Evenview Drive and is an exterminator.
Scott lives at 408 N. McDonough Street and works in Clayton County Juvenile Court.
McDonald lives at 183 Dean Street and is a college administrator. Norrington is retired from the U.S. Postal Service and lives at 181 West Mill Street. Yonce, who is disabled, lives at 130 Burnside Street.
Bobby Wiggins, retired, of 106 W. Mimosa Drive and locksmith Danny Windom of 214 N. McDonough Street are running for Sewell's seat.
The election comes just a few months after the city's volunteer fire department was eliminated and that led to a rift between a group of citizens and the current city council and Mayor Joy Day. Maddox has been an outspoken critic of Day and the council at several meetings and is a member of the Jonesboro Pride civic group that was originally formed by residents who wanted to keep the fire department.
Wiggins is the brother of former Jonesboro Fire Chief Jimmy Wiggins.