It’s been a nearly two-year presidential campaign. Ready to get that vote out of the way?
Well, you can do it starting Monday. Early voting for the Nov. 8 general election will be held at the Madison County Board of Elections and Registrar’s Office in the county government complex Monday through Friday, Oct. 17 through Nov. 4, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday voting will be held at the office Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voters who wait until election day to vote will need to do so at their voting precinct, not the county elections office.
Tuesday was the final day voters could register to cast their ballots.
“We have had a tremendous turnout today, phone calls and individuals registering to vote,” said Tracy Dean, chairperson of the Board of Elections and Registration. “I believe it may be larger than the 2008 election!”
There are two local races on the ballot. Madison County Democrat Cedric Fortson will face Republican John Scarborough for the county commission chairman’s seat, while Democrat Conolus Scott Jr. will face Republican Tripp Strickland for the District 2 chair at the county commission table.
Other contested races on the ballot include:
•President of the United States — pitting Donald Trump (R) against Hillary Clinton (D). Voters will have the option of voting for Gary Johnson, who is running on the Libertarian ballot.
•U.S. Senate — featuring incumbent Johnny Isakson (R), Jim Barksdale (D) and Allen Buckley (L)
•Public service commissioner — Tim Echols, incumbent (R) vs. Eric Husking (L)
The most controversial matter on the ballot in Georgia will be the proposed amendment to the Georgia constitution creating “opportunity school districts,” (OSD) that will allow the state to take over schools deemed to be underperforming.
Currently, 127 schools in Georgia have achieved an “F” rank on the state’s accountability system for three consecutive years, which makes them eligible for the state takeover. None of these are in Madison County.
The amendment would allow up to 20 schools a year to be included, with a limit of 100 schools under OSD governance at any given time.
If that happens, the governor will appoint a school “superintendent” who will report to the governor. That individual will be able to close or merge schools, hire and fire staff and determine tax rates — which opponents of the measure say removes all local control over schools. Schools would remain under OSD control for a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 years.