By Valerie Baldowski
Early voting for the July primaries in Henry County is scheduled to begin Monday.
Voters wanting to cast their ballots early can vote in the main office of the Henry County Elections and Registration Department, located at 345 Phillips Drive, McDonough, according to Janet Shellnutt, director of elections and registration.
The main office will be open Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., from June 7, through July 9, said Shellnutt.
Voters must provide photo identification, showing proof of citizenship, and residency, she said. "You can use anything from a government ID, to a driver's license [or] college ID," Shellnut said.
Advanced voting, which will be allowed from July 12 to 16, will be at the main office, as well as four other satellite locations in the county. Those voting hours will be Monday through Friday, 7 a.m., to 7 p.m. -- in Stockbridge at the Stockbridge Community Center, 130 Berry St.; and in Locust Grove at the Locust Grove Recreation Center, 10 Cleveland St. Also, in the Fairview area, voting will be at the Fairview Library, 28 Austin Road, and in Hampton, at the Hampton City Hall, 17 East Main St.
The ballot in Henry County will include District V Henry County Commissioner Johnny Basler, the Republican incumbent, who won't face opposition in the primary, but will take on challenger Bruce Holmes, a Democrat, in the fall. District IV Henry County Commissioner Reid A. Bowman, Sr., a Republican, is running unopposed. Wayne A. Powers also is the lone candidate in the race for county surveyor.
Several candidates have qualified for state offices. In Senate District 10, incumbent Democrat Emanuel Jones has no opposition. In Senate District 44, Mike Glanton, Gail Davenport, and Dawn Randolph, comprise a field of three Democrats seeking the post.
In the State Senate District 17 race, former Henry County Commissioner Rick Jeffares, along with Ester Fleming, Jr., and Todd Hilton are vying for the Republican nomination. Nicholas P. Day, and Jim Nichols, former chairman of the Henry County Democratic Party, are seeking the nod from Democrats.
Republican John Douglas will be on the ballot for a seat on the Public Service Commission.
In House District 73, Republican incumbent John Yates has no challenger in July, but will face Democrat Rose Carroll in November.
In House District 78, Democrat Glenn Baker will face challenger Jackie Anderson-Woods.
In House District 90, incumbent Howard Mosby is unopposed.
In House District 91, incumbent Rahn Mayo is unopposed.
In House District 109, Republican incumbent Steve Davis is unopposed in the primary, but will face Democrat Matt Roberts, also unopposed, in November.
House District 110 will see a four-way battle among Ron Moon, Tom R. Nicholson, Lee M. Spahos, and Andrew "Andy" Welch on the Republican ballot. Democrat Rudy Cox will face the winner in November.
Voter turnout is expected to be light for the primaries, Shellnutt said.
"Presidential years are always big, but so are the years with governor's races, and a lot of legislative seats," she said. "Unfortunately, we do not have a large turnout in the July primary. Only about 25 percent of the registered voters come out. We are certainly ready to handle the July election, but as soon as that is complete, we begin working on the November general election."
A weak turnout for the primaries means fewer voters ultimately have a say in who gets elected, said Shellnutt. "It is unfortunate, because those that do not vote in July let a small amount of voters decide who will be on the November ballot," she added.
The light turnout means fewer ballots will be mailed out, said Sharmaine Gilman, registration supervisor for the Henry County Elections and Registration Department.
"We really hadn't gotten that many requests for ballots through the mail," said Gilman. "We only got between 30 and 50. They [voters] will come out for the November election, but for the primaries they're just not as interested."
For more information on voting in Henry County, call the Elections and Registration Department at (770) 288-6448.