Don't forget to vote in the runoff!

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Don’t forget—the runoff election takes place next Tuesday, August 11! Up for grabs in this race are the democratic ticket for the local sheriff’s race, the District 4 seat for state senate, and the nonpartisan special election to fill the vacancy of that same senate district left by the passing of Jack Hill.

Early voting ends this Friday, August 7, at 5 p.m. To cast your vote early, visit the Emanuel County Elections Office at 105 South Main Street, Swainsboro, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. this Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.

Election Day on August 11, voters should report to their polling precincts between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Sample ballots appeared in the July 29 edition of The Forest-Blade. In short, the following are breakdowns of what voters can expect to see on their ballots, why, and what requirements exist to vote in the runoff:

Democratic sheriff’s candidates: Allen Durden, Johnny James Smith. Because none of the three candidates in the primary earned 50% plus one vote, the two candidates who received the highest percentages that night moved on to the runoff. Durden and Smith were those two candidates. Should one of these candidates receive 50% plus one vote next Tuesday, he will appear in the general election in November.

State Senate – District 4: Scott Bohlke, Billy Hickman. Like the democratic sheriff’s race in the primary back in May, this particular race did not have an outright winner who received 50% plus one vote. Thus, a runoff is required.

Special State Senate – District 4: Scott Bohlke, Billy Hickman. This nonpartisan election, too, did not have an outright winner, thus requiring a runoff.

Because there are only two candidates in each individual runoff and because the requirement to win is 50% plus one vote, the only possibility of another runoff is if there is an exact tie between the two candidates in any race.

As a reminder, while voting in the runoff election, voters must stick with the party they selected in the primary. For example, in order to vote in the democratic sheriff’s runoff, voters must have either cast a democratic ballot in the primary or not have voted at all. Likewise, in order to vote in the District 4 race for state senate, because these two candidates are republicans, voters must have cast either a republican ballot in the primary or not have voted at all.

However, voters who only cast nonpartisan ballots in the primary may vote either way in the runoff, meaning those voters can choose either a democratic or a republican ballot this election.

As an extension of that, because the special state senate race is nonpartisan, everyone is eligible to vote in this runoff race—so long as they live in the Senate’s 4th District.

Important to note is not every polling location in Emanuel County is eligible to vote in the state senate elections. This is because the jurisdiction of that seat only covers select parts of the county. Ineligible to vote for State Senate – District 4 are Garfield, Twin City, Canoochee, Summertown, Crossing Green, and Blundale. Voters at these six precincts should not expect to see neither the regular race for District 4 nor the special election for it on their ballots.

As of press time on Tuesday, August 4, Elections Director Kerry Curry reports a total of 602 votes.

Absentee voting accounts for 449 of those votes. Further breakdown in that category indicates 175 democratic votes and 3 nonpartisan votes while the rest are republican.

The remaining 153 votes in that 602 total are early votes. Thirty-seven of those cast were democratic. The other 116 were republican.

The Blade will be going live on Facebook yet again for part 2 of Election Night Live leading up to the general election in November. The first part of Election Night Live went over well during the primary, and, at the request of both the public and the broadcast's sponsors, part 2 will start around 6:55 p.m. on the night of the runoff on August 11. To watch, tune into Emanuel County Live on Facebook around that time. The Blade will have reporters at every precinct waiting for results. Those reporters will forward the results to a reporter live on Facebook for up-to-the-minute election results.

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