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Early Voting Underway

Early voting is underway through May 20 in the General Primary/Special Election slated for May 24. The last day to submit absentee ballot applications for the May 24 election is May 13. All Georgia voters are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

The General Primary will offer nonpartisan and party ballots to determine candidates for the General Election in November. Other dates to remember in the 2022 election cycle are: June 21, Primary Runoff; November 8, General Election; December 6, runoffs for those races that are not decided by a majority vote.

All of Georgia’s executive offices and legislative seats, as well as two posts on the Public Service Commission will be on the Primary ballot. Also, one of Georgia’s U. S. Senate posts and all of Georgia’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election.

Also up for balloting in the May 24 Primary are local posts in Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler counties.

State Senator Blake Tillery, R-19, Vidalia, qualified for reelection and will be facing Douglas resident Michael “Buckle” Moore, a Democrat and a business owner, in November. When District 19 was redrawn following the 2020 Census, several new areas were picked up, including a portion of Coffee County and the City of Douglas. District 156 Representative Leesa Hagan, R-Lyons, whose recently redrawn legislative district now includes Wheeler County and other new territory, including Benn Hill County and the cCty of Fitzgerald, also qualified for reelection. She will be facing Fitzgerald resident Lettia J. Kitrell, a Democrat and a business owner, in November. Also on the ballot are elections for nonpartisan seats held by Middle Judicial Circuit Judges Robert S. Reeves and Tommy Smith. Both qualified for reelection and are unopposed.

Toombs County

In Toombs County, which was not required to redraw its voting districts following the 2020 Census since there was little change in the voting populations with the five county districts, local races that will be on the ballot include two County Commission seats, the Toombs County Board of Education’s Chairman’s seat, and three Board of Education posts, said Toombs County Elections Supervisor Carey Alligood.

Alfred Cason, who holds the District 1 post on the Toombs County Commission, qualified for reelection and is unopposed. Tommy Rollins, who currently represents District 4 on the Toombs County Commission, qualified for reelection and is unopposed.

Toombs County School Board Chairman Clint Williams qualified for reelection and is unopposed. District 1 representative Russell Benton and District 3 representative Mitch Bellflower also qualified to seek reelection to their nonpartisan seats. Benton is unopposed but Bellflower faces opposition from Ron Milligan. Steve Hutcheson qualified to seek the District 5 seat on the School Board. He is unopposed. Current representative Jonathan Holland is not seeking reelection.

Montgomery County

Montgomery County has five posts on the May 24 ballot: two county commission seats, two Board of Education seats, and Magistrate Judge. Recent redistricting has shifted the boundaries of the county’s five districts, but all incumbent County Commissioners and Board of Education members are eligible for reelection within their districts.

County Commission seats for Districts 4 and 5, which represent Ailey and Uvalda, are up for election, and Board of Education seats open for election are in Districts 3 and 5, which is Mount Vernon and Uvalda.

Districts 3 and 4 that were previously combined into a singular super district have now been separated. District 4, Ailey, encompasses the north side of U.S. Highway 280 East to Jeff Lane, which ends at its intersection with Georgia Highway 221. District 3 contains the remaining area of the Ailey-Mount Vernon super district plus a few new roads. Meanwhile, District 5 in Uvalda now includes the entire city of Alston. County Commissioner Clarence Thomas is the incumbent for District 4, and Commission Chairman Leland Adams is the incumbent for District 5. Both qualified for reelection and are unopposed. Debra Gay holds the District 3 Board of Education seat and will face Fernando Rodriguez Pacheco in the May 24 Primary. School Board Chairman Jim Paul Poole holds the seat for District 5 and qualified for reelection. He will face John O’Conner in the May 24 nonpartisan race.

Judge Ashley Thornton serves as Magistrate Judge in the current term. She qualified for reelection in the nonpartisan race and faces challenger Gloria O’Neal.

Wheeler County

In Wheeler County, both the County Commission and School Board Districts were redrawn following the 2020 census owing to some minimal population shifts, but no new districts were created.

Wheeler County Supervisor of Elections Sheila Cheek said the seats up for election in the May 24 Primary include two of the county’s seven School Board posts: District 1 representative Catherine Wilson’s position and District 5 representative L.W. Kent, Jr.’s post. Both Wilson and Kent qualified for reelection and face no opposition.

Also, for the first time, Wheeler County voters will be deciding the District 156 state House representative rather than the District 149 representative. The 2020 census reconfigured the boundaries of Districts 149 and 156. Following the 2022 election, District 149 Representative Robert Pruitt, R-Eastman, will be replaced by the District 156 representative.

There are no changes in Toombs, Montgomery and Wheeler counties for Blake Tillery’s District 19 area of representation.

T-SPLOST Special Election Ballots in Toombs County, Montgomery County and Wheeler County will include a special election regarding a 1% sales tax T-SPLOST for the Heart of Georgia Altamaha Regional District. Voters will be asked whether they approve or reject the following question: Shall (Toombs, Montgomery or Wheeler 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 10 years?

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