Early voting for BOE District 6 special election

By Curt Yeomans


People who live in the Clayton County Board of Education's District 6 may begin casting their votes today in a special election to help determine who will serve the remaining three and a half months of former board Chairperson Eddie White's unexpired term.

Advance voting will continue through Friday, Sept. 12, for the Sept. 16, District 6 Special Election. It will take place at the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration office, at 121 S. McDonough St., Jonesboro. Voters can cast their ballots between 8 a.m., and 7 p.m., daily.

Mary Baker and Marcela Bodkin want to replace White on the board. The seat became vacant in late April when White abruptly resigned,following a conflict with another board member. Only District 6 residents can vote in the contest.

"It's very important that [District 6 residents] contact our office, or check the poll locator on our web site, if they are unsure about which district they live in," said Annie Bright, director of the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration.

Bright said her office expects a low voter turnout.

There are 18,310 eligible voters in District 6. The special election will involve eight Jonesboro polling precincts, including: Lee Street, Arnold, Brown and Jackson elementary schools; M.D. Roberts Middle School; Mount Zion High School; First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro, and St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church.

The opening of advance voting comes a week and a half after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) revoked the school system's accreditation, and Gov. Sonny Perdue removed four board members for misconduct. The remaining three board members have been struggling to fill enough vacancies to get a quorum for a business meeting.

"They [the voters] should turn out for any election, and this one is especially important," Bright said.

Bright also said voters have until Friday to request a mail-in, absentee ballot. Absentee ballots have to be returned to the elections office no later than Sept. 16.

Last month, Baker won a separate, four-year term for the District 6 seat during the Democratic Primary. She will take office for that term on Jan. 1, 2009.

Bodkin is campaigning as an Independent Democrat. She also is seeking court intervention to get on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. No Republican will be on the general election ballot.