Many voters don’t turn out at the polls until presidential election years, but this year’s mid-term elections include a number of significant seats at the local, state and federal level.
Madison County citizens who aren’t registered to vote are running out of time if they care to cast ballots in the May 20 non-partisan and primary elections. The voter registration deadline for participating in those elections is April 21.
Early voting for those elections will take place April 28 through May 16 at the county registrar’s office in the government complex, with Saturday voting also offered May 10 in that office.
Three county races will be contested in 2014 and two of those elections will take place next month. David Patton and Greg Sartain will face off for the non-partisan magistrate judge’s seat on May 20. Long-time magistrate judge Harry Rice is retiring at the end of the year. Meanwhile, incumbent school board member Arlen Johnson will face a challenge in another non-partisan election from Angie McGinnis for the District 2 seat at the board of education table.
A third local race won’t be decided until the Nov. 4 general election, when board of commission member Jim Escoe, a Republican, is challenged by Democrat Clyde Verhine for the District 5 seat at the BOC table.
Three incumbents on the BOC and BOE are running unopposed in 2014: Robert Hooper, District 1 on the school board; Mike Youngblood, District 3 on the board of commissioners; and John Pethel, District 4 on the board of commissioners.
Madison County’s three Republican legislators in the state General Assembly will all run unopposed for re-election in 2014: Alan Powell, representative for District 32; Tom McCall, representative for District 33; and Frank Ginn, state senator for District 47.
Madison County resident David Vogel, a Democrat, will challenge incumbent Republican Doug Collins or challenger Bernard “Bernie” Fontaine for the U.S. House of Representatives 9th District seat.
A number of other offices are up for grabs this year, including the U.S. Senator’s seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss, the governor’s seat the lieutenant governor’s seat, secretary of state, attorney general, state school superintendent, commissioner of insurance, commissioner of agriculture, commissioner of labor, public service commissioners, supreme court justices, court of appeals judges and county soil and water conservation supervisor.
HISTORICALLY LOW TURNOUT
The turnout in mid-term elections has been significantly lower in Madison County than in presidential election years. Here’s a breakdown of voter turnout over the past 14 years in the county:
•2000 presidential election: 65 percent of registered voters cast ballots (8,254 of 12,768).
•2002 mid-term election: 49.2 percent (6,123 of 12,447).
•2004 presidential election: 79.6 percent (9,908 of 12,532).
•2006 mid-term election: 41.2 percent (6,331 of 15,360).
•2008 presidential election: 70.6 percent (11,408 of 16,156).
•2010 mid-term election: 48.2 percent (7,746 of 16,066).
•2012 presidential election: 78.5 percent (11,183 of 14,243).
PARTY LEADERS URGE VOTERS TO PARTICIPATE
Leaders for both Republican and Democratic parties urge citizens to participate in this year’s elections.
“Getting out to vote is very important regardless of who you vote for or what party you’re voting for,” said Conolus Scott of the Madison County Democratic Party. “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a voice.”
Scott said the mid-term elections are just as crucial — if not more so — than the presidential elections, because there is so much at stake in state offices.
Bruce Azevedo of the county Republican Party shared Scott’s sentiment about getting out to vote no matter who you support.
“Everybody needs to get out and vote, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat,” said Azevedo, who noted that the turnout for mid-term elections is generally much worse than for presidential elections.
Azevedo added that candidates are having to work hard to reach people prior to early voting for the primaries and the non-partisan elections, since early voting starts April 28.
“They (candidates) really don’t have much time,” said Azevedo, adding that many people get campaign literature from candidates after they’ve already cast an early ballot.
HOW TO REGISTER:
Voter registration applications are available at the board of elections and registration office in the Madison County Government Complex from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applications are also available at the Madison County Library, and can be downloaded from the Georgia Secretary of State Website at www.sos.ga.us or the BOER office website, www.mcelections.us.
Those who have applied for voter registration at the Department of Drivers Services and have not received a precinct identification card in the mail are encouraged to inquire about the status of their application with the Board of Elections and Registration at 706-795-6335 or through the AMVP@ page@ option at www.sos.ga.us.
Voters may also call toll-free at 1-888-265-1115 and using their Social Security number receive access to this information.
“If anyone has any questions regarding their voting status, they may call us for that information,” county board of elections officials said.
April 21 is the last day for a voter to change their name or address if he/she has moved within the county to an address different from the address shown on the voter’s registration card. It is the duty of the voter to notify the Board of Elections and Registration by this date in order for the voter to be placed in the correct precinct and for the voter’s name to be placed on the correct list of voters.
For more information, contact the Board of Elections and Registration at 706-795-6335.