Early voting for the July 20 primary begins June 7. Voting will take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Barrow County Elections Office located at 233 E. Broad Street, Winder. Elections supervisor Katie Ferm emphasized that voters should be aware that both the primary and a special election are being held.

“One of the big things I am trying to get out to people is about the special election,” she said.

In the special election, Barrow County voters will be asked to approve a new E-SPLOST (education special purpose local option sales tax).

If passed, the new E-SPLOST would extend the current one percent E-SPLOST for an additional five years or until $54 million has been collected, whichever comes first. The new E-SPLOST would go into effect upon the expiration of the current E-SPLOST in September of 2011.

If the E-SPLOST does not pass, school officials have warned that property taxes may have to increase by as much as 6 mills to service the school system’s debt.

Registered voters wishing to cast ballots in both the special election and the general primary must specify a party preference. Those who do not specify a party will receive a special election ballot only.

The last day to register to vote in the July 20 election is June 21.

Independent qualifying also gets underway later this month. Candidates wishing to run as independents may qualify beginning Monday, June 28 at 9 a.m. The qualifying period ends on Friday, July 2 at noon.

Ferm recommended voters visit the new Georgia Secretary of State web site, http://vote.ga.gov, for more information. The new site allows voters to check registration, find polling locations, check on the status of absentee ballots and view sample ballots.

“It is an amazing tool for voters,” Ferm said.

More information about local elections is also available on the Barrow County Elections site, www.barrowga.org/vote or by calling 770-307-3110.

The Barrow County Elections Office will be closed July 5 in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

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