Early Voting Begins Monday For May Primary & Nonpartisan Elections
Early voting for the May 2018 Primary and Nonpartisan Elections will begin on Monday, April 30, at the Coffee County Elections Office, and of the six races on the ballot, only one is contested. The Regional T-SPLOST special election will also be on the ballot in May.
Qualifying the for the May Primary Election was recently held in March at the elections office, and the race for the District 1 Coffee County Board of Education seat is the only uncontested race locally. That nonpartisan race includes appointed-incumbent Leola Johnson versus challenger Tonya Wilkerson.
Following the death of longtime District 1 BOE member Ronnie Johnson in 2017, L. Johnson and Wilkerson were both in the running to be appointed to fill the vacant District 1 seat, along with several others.
Ultimately, per the Board of Education’s Charter, the four remaining Board of Education members, Jesse Jowers (District 2), Reagan Miller (District 3), Bryan Preston (District 4), and Adam Lott (District 5), were allowed to appoint a replacement to fill R. Johnson’s seat, and they selected L. Johnson.
A source told The Enterprise the elections office received a “high number” of absentee ballots from District 1 believed to be related to that race.
Two other incumbent BOE members, Jowers and Presto are up for re-election and both are unopposed.
Two Coffee County Commissioners will also retain their seats, as Oscar Paulk of District 1 and A.J. Dovers of District 3 are both unopposed.
The other race on the ballot, that for Coffee County State Court Solicitor General, will also see the incumbent remain in office for another four years, as Katherine (Katy) Peters Paulk is also unopposed.
Coffee County voters, along with the voters in the 17 other counties included in the Southern Georgia Special Tax District, will also cast their votes to determine if a 1% sales and use tax will be implemented to improve the region’s transportation network. If approved by the majority of the region, the 1% would be collected for a period of 10 years and collect projected revenues of $513,649,267.
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 created 12 “Special Tax Districts” throughout Georgia, and the act required each of the 12 districts to create a Regional Transportation Roundtable for the district. It was also required that each district “adopt criteria, develop a draft investment list, conduct public meetings, consider a final investment list, and consider a call for an election for the voters of each district to consider the imposition of a transportation sales and use tax,” which would be used to improve the region’s traffic network.
Coffee County was placed in the 18-county Southern Georgia Special Tax District with the counties of: Atkinson, Bacon, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Pierce, Tift, Turner, and Ware.
The question on the ballot for the T-SPLOST will read, ““Shall Coffee County’s transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?”
The May 2018 Primary and Special Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 22, 2018.
The deadline to register to vote in the election has passed.
Advance voting will begin on Monday, April 30, through Friday, May 18, at the Coffee County Elections Office, located at 224 West Ashley Street in Douglas.
All polling places in the county will be open on Tuesday, May 22, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.