By Curt Yeomans
After nearly five months without a representative on the Clayton County Board of Education, voters in District 6 will go to the polls today and elect a successor to former board Chairman Eddie White.
Mary Baker or Marcela Bodkin. That is the choice voters will make today as they cast their ballots in a special election to determine who will serve the last three months of White's unexpired term. The winner will be sworn in on Sept. 22, and become the seventh person since July to join the nine-member board.
District 6 voters trickled in to the Board of Elections office in Jonesboro last week for advance voting, according to elections officials. There were 262 votes cast during the special election's early voting period. That equals a turnout of 1.5 percent of the 18,310 registered voters in District 6.
By comparison, there was a 5.9 percent early voter turnout in District 6 for the July 15 primary, which included Baker and several other candidates seeking a separate, full, four-year term in White's old seat. There was also a 7.3 percent turnout for the early voting period of the Aug. 5 runoff between Baker and John Askew.
Annie Bright, director of the Clayton County Board of Elections, said she could not explain why turnout is lower for special elections than turnout would be for other elections, but she added "each election is important ...
"I am expecting a 10 percent turnout [for the special election]," Bright said. "It could be higher. Turnouts for elections are hard to predict."
According to the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration web site, one of the following forms of identification must be presented to poll officials to cast a ballot: A Georgia driver's license; a valid state or federal government-issued photo ID; United States passport; state or federal government employee photo identification card; United States military photo identification card; tribal photo identification card.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m., to 7 p.m., at the following voting precincts:
· Lee Street Elementary School, 178 Lee Street, Jonesboro.
· First Presbyterian Church of Jonesboro, 1842 Lake Jodeco Road, Jonesboro.
· M.D. Roberts Middle School, 1905 Walt Stephens Road, Jonesboro.
· Mount Zion High School, 2535 Mt. Zion Pkwy., Jonesboro.
· St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, 591 Flint River Road, Jonesboro.
· Arnold Elementary School, 216 Stockbridge Road, Jonesboro.
· Brown Elementary School, 9771 Poston Road, Jonesboro.
· Jackson Elementary School, 7711 Mount Zion Blvd., Jonesboro.
Only voters who traditionally vote at those precincts can cast ballots in the special election. If a voter is unsure what his or her voting precinct is, he or she can go to the web sites of either the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration, or the Georgia Secretary of State, and use a poll locator to find that information.
Voters can also call the Board of Elections at (770) 477-3372 to find their precinct.
Anyone who wants to watch election-night results come in, can go to the Election Center (formerly the Clayton County Emergency Management Center) at 7946 N. McDonough Street, Jonesboro.
On the net:
Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration: http://www.co.clayton.ga.us/brd_elections_registration/
Georgia Secretary of State: http://sos.georgia.gov/