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Primary voting turnout dismal

Less than one percent of the active voters in Pickens County have cast their ballot in the May primary election, which has few local contested and state races. 

Early voting runs through Friday, May 17 at the Pickens Recreation Center at 1329 Camp Road, . Vote at your precinct on Election Day Tuesday, May 21. 

Pickens Elections Supervisor Stacey Godfrey said that near the end of the day Monday, May 6, only 212 of the 25,000 active voters had cast a ballot. There are 28,129 registered voters in Pickens County, but active voters are those who have voted in the last two election cycles. 

“I’m not sure if it’s lack of interest, lack of education, or lack of contested races,” Godfrey said. “We’ve prepped and planned. We thought all year because it was a big election year, we’d have a good turnout, but that hasn’t been the case.”

Godfrey spoke with the Gilmer County Elections Supervisor who said they are also having low primary numbers to the north, around 350 she last heard. 

“I think there might be a low turnout across the state,” Godfrey said. “I’m not sure what else we can do to get the word out. We’re putting out signs. We’ve run advertisements. It’s disappointing to see such low numbers. Also, people used to see political ads on television and with so many people streaming television now they might be missing ads that let them know there is an election going on.” 

Typically, the local elections office sees as many voters in one day as they have the entire early voting period so far. 

“We’re averaging about 30 a day,” she said. “Last Saturday we had 19.” 

Locally there are two contested races – magistrate judge and one school board seat. A potential coroner candidate is trying to secure enough signatures to run as an independent. 

In the Republican primary for magistrate, incumbent Alan Morris faces Connie Hughes. For Board of Education Post 4, incumbent Sue Finley faces Bron Stanley and Ricky Walker. Local races for county commission chair (incumbent Kris Stancil), Board of Education Post 1 (incumbent Tommy Gartrell), as well as House Rep. District 11, incumbent Rick Jasperse are uncontested. West Pickens residents will see the uncontested commission chair race on the ticket (incumbent Josh Tippins). 

In U.S. House of Representatives, Republican incumbent Barry Loudermilk faces Lori Marie Pesta and Mike Pons. 

On the democratic ticket, there are no city or county contested races. For U.S. House of Representatives, Antonio Daza faces Katy L. Stamper. 

There are eight non-binding questions on both party  ballots. 

Non-partisan contested races on both tickets include: Supreme Court Justice incumbent Andrew Pinson faceing John Barrow and Court of Appeals Judge (to succeed M. Yvette Miller) Jeff Davis facing Tabitha Ponder. 

There is also a non-partisan general election ballot. 

Early voting runs April 29 – May 17 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays on May 4 and May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vote at the Pickens Recreation Center at 1329 Camp Road, Jasper, Ga. Vote at your precinct on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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