By Curt Yeomans
Prior to the polls opening on election day, today, thousands of Clayton County voters have already cast their ballots in the general election, the county's elections director said.
Clayton County Elections and Registration Director Annie Bright said 17,752 voters, out of 147,400 registered voters in the county, cast their votes during the early and advance voting periods, and with absentee ballots. That means the county enters election day, today, with the voter turnout already at 12 percent.
"So far, from Sept. 20 through [this past Friday], there have been 16,451 people who have voted in person, and another 1,301 people who have voted by mail," said Bright. "That's a very good turnout."
Everything from the governor's race, to a local county commission race, to a non-binding question on the future of public transportation in Clayton County, is on the ballot.
A sample ballot also shows there are several contested, local races on the general election ballot. One of those races is for the U.S. Representative, District 13 seat, where incumbent Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) is facing opposition from Republican Mike Crane.
Also, voters in a small portion of northern Clayton County will be participating in the U.S. Representative, District 5 race, in which incumbent Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is being challenged by Republican Fenn Little.
In State Senate races, Sen. Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) is facing a challenge from Republican Zannie "Tiger" Billingslea, for the District 34 seat, while former State Sen. Gail Davenport is facing a write-in candidate, Carlotta Harrell, for the District 44 seat.
In the State House of Representatives races, there are two seats in Clayton County being contested. Former Clayton County Board of Education member Sandra Scott is seeking to win the House District 76 seat, and is facing opposition from write-in candidate, State Sen. Gail Buckner (D-Jonesboro).
Incumbent State Rep. Darryl Jordan (D-Riverdale) has opposition from Republican James Brown in the House District 77 race.
On the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, Incumbent District 4 Commissioner Michael Edmondson is facing a challenge from Lee Scott, who is running as a Republican.
On the Clayton County Board of Education, incumbent Chairperson Alieka Anderson is being challenged by a write-in candidate, Michelle Lakes.
There is also a county-wide, non-binding referendum on whether Clayton County should become a full participant in MARTA.
The ballot also includes several state-wide races, including contests for: governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. Senate, secretary of state, state school superintendent, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of insurance, and commissioner of labor, as well as judgeships on the Georgia Supreme Court, and the State Court of Appeals.
There are also five proposed amendments to the Georgia Constitution, including measures that would: allow the enforcement of competitive contracts; add a $10 tag fee on private passenger vehicles to fund trauma care centers; allow for the execution of multi-year contracts for transportation projects; allow the execution of multi-year contacts for energy efficiency and conservation improvement projects, and allow owners of "industrial-zoned" property to remove the "industrial" designation from their property.
There is also a state-wide referendum on whether there should be an exemption from state ad valorem taxes for the "inventory of a business."
There are 58 voting precincts in Clayton County, according to the Clayton County Board of Elections and Registration's web site -- www.claytoncountyga.gov/departments/elections-and-registration/.
People, who are not sure which precinct they should use, can call the county's election and registration office at (770) 477-3372.
They can also go online, to the Georgia Secretary of State's web site, www.sos.state.ga.us/, and use an online poll locator.