On radio: Steve Miller, chair of Floyd County’s elections board, and Floyd’s new elections chief, Robert Brady, join us at 8:40 this morning on Hometown Headlines Radio Edition on WRGA 98.7 FM to discuss what’s next for voters including the Dec. 4 runoff and, for some, the Dec. 18 election to select a new representative for House District 14.
By Natalie Simms
This election season is not over for state and local voters. A runoff looms on Dec. 4 with two offices — Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioner — on the ballot followed by a special election on Dec. 18 to fill the House District 14 vacancy.
With just two weeks until the Dec. 4 runoff, plus office closures for the Thanksgiving holidays, local elections officials are working quickly to get ballots ready. Floyd, Bartow and Gordon counties have plans to offer advance voting but Polk County may not have ballots ready.
“It all is up in the air right now,” says LeeAnn George, Polk County elections supervisor. “It all depends on how soon we can get the ballots. We won’t get our database until Tuesday and then we’re out for Thanksgiving. If we can get ballots overnighted, we could possibly offer it Nov. 28-30 for three days but I’m not certain at this point.”
Here is what we do know about the runoff:
On the ballot:
- Republican Brad Raffensperger vs. Democrat John Barrow for Secretary of State
- Public Service Commission, District 3, between Republican Chuck Eaton and Democrat Lindy Miller.
- There will be no new voter registration for the runoff. Only those already registered to vote prior to the Oct. 9 deadline for the general election will be able to vote in the runoff.
Floyd County advance voting will be held Monday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Nov. 30 at the Floyd County Administration building. Advance voting also will be held at the Rome Civic Center from Monday, Nov. 26 through Thursday, Nov. 29. Both locations will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bartow County is planning to hold advance voting the week of Nov. 26-30 as well, assuming ballots are in place, according to Joseph Kirk, elections supervisor. Voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, at the Bartow Voter Registration Office, 1300 Joe Frank Harris Pakway. Voting also will be held at the Cartersville Civic Center, 435 W. Main St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Gordon County is tentatively planning advance voting to start Tuesday, Nov. 27 through Friday, Nov. 30. Voting will be held at the Gordon County Board of Elections office, 215 N. Wall St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Once the runoff is over, voters in House District 14, which includes parts of Floyd and Bartow counties, will once again head to the polls on Dec. 18 for a special election to fill the vacant seat left by Christian Coomer, who resigned after he was sworn in as a judge on the state Court of Appeals on Oct. 31.
Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly approved the writ of election for the seat during last week’s special-called session and the Secretary of State set the Dec. 18 date. Since this is not a general election, only a special election following Coomer’s withdrawal from office, it will be a primary to fill his seat as a Republican.
Qualifying for the special election begins today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3110 Maple Drive, Suite 150, in Atlanta, and again Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The qualifying fee is $400.
So far, there are three candidates who have declared their intent to run for the seat:
- Ken Coomer, Christian’s father and an Adairsville pastor.
- Nickie Leighly, an active Republican volunteer and foster care advocate.
- Mitchell Scoggins, Bartow’s retired probate judge.
Steve Miller, chairman of Floyd County Board of Elections, says we could see a runoff for the special election.
“With three already stating they will run for the open seat there could be a runoff in that election as well. If there is a runoff, it would be held within 30 days of the Special Election,” he says.
Local elections officials say there will be advance voting opportunities for the Dec. 18 special election as well but those dates won’t be finalized until next week. Anyone who wants to register to vote in the special election must do so by today, Nov. 19.
Voters in Gordon and Murray counties will also have a special election in the near future to fill Rep. John Meadows’ seat in House District 5. Meadows passed away last week after a battle with cancer.
“We are saddened by the loss of State Representative John Meadows. At this time, we do not know when the special election will be held,” says Shea Hicks, Gordon County elections supervisor. “Governor Nathan Deal will submit a writ of election to the Secretary of State for a special election, then the Secretary of State will transmit the writ of election to the superintendent of each county involved and shall publish a call of the election.”
John Vaughn, press secretary for the Governor’s Office, says “there is a waiting period after someone passes away before we call for the special election,” but that the goal would be to have it scheduled before the 2019 General Assembly begins on Jan. 14.