Early voting ends after seeing light turnout
by Joshua Sharpe
November 02, 2013 10:09 PM | 2678 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — Cherokee County voters are set to go to the polls Tuesday for city elections and a special election for the Senate District 14 seat, and indications so far are that voter turnout is light.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

As early voting in the elections around Cherokee County drew to a close Friday, officials were reporting a relatively light showing of voters.

Only 1,416 voters turned out during the three-week early voting period for city council seats in Canton and Woodstock and the special election to replace Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) in the state Senate, the Cherokee County elections office said.

Although the numbers weren’t staggering, Cherokee County Supervisor of Elections and Registration Janet Munda said Friday the turnout was about average.

“It’s been, I think, a pretty good turnout,” Munda said.

Munda said the addition of the District 14 special election likely has brought out more voters and will again on Election Day.

“Both complemented one another to bring out voters who wouldn’t come out otherwise,” she said. “I think when you add something to a municipal election it helps that election.”

There are seven contested races to be decided in the election, with three city council seats in both Canton and Woodstock and the District 14 state Senate seat up for grabs.

Five candidates are squaring off in the race to take the District 14 seat, which Loudermilk resigned from to focus on his bid for U.S. Congress.

Dwight Pullen of Canton, Nicole Ebbeskotte of Woodstock, Bruce Thompson of White, Christopher G. Nesmith of Adairsville, and Matt Laughridge of Cartersville, are running for the seat, which covers large portions of Cherokee and Bartow counties and a small piece of Cobb.

There are more than 58,000 registered voters in state Senate District 14, and 1,136 of them turned out in the three weeks of early voting, Munda said. Many of those voters also voted in the Canton and Woodstock elections as the district covers parts of both cities.

The more than 12,000 registered voters in the District 14 portion of Cobb County didn’t do as well, with only 18 ballots cast in all of early voting, according to the Cobb elections office. In Bartow County, 374 District 14 voters had turned out by the end of the day Thursday, according to the county elections office. At the end of the day Friday, final numbers were not available, Bartow officials said.

In Canton, all voters citywide will cast their ballot for one candidate in each of the city’s three wards to replace sitting councilmen Bill Bryan, Bob Rush and John Beresford, who aren’t seeking re-election.

Clint Weatherby, Sandy McGrew and Bob Reilly are running for Rush’s Ward 1 seat, and Bill Grant and Ari Durham for the Ward 2 seat held by Bryan.

Beresford’s Ward 3 seat has the most competition with Thomas Sanders, Farris Yawn, Molly Lewis and John Rust all running to replace him.

As early voting ended Friday, 717 out of more than 13,000 registered voters in the city have cast their ballots so far in those council races, Munda said.

Voters in Woodstock also vote for one candidate in each ward on the ballot. Mayor Donnie Henriques is up for re-election but has no opposition.

Ward 5 City Councilman Bud Leonard is running for re-election and is facing challenger Susan L. Jones. Incumbent Bob Mueller is competing against Judy Davila for his Ward 3 City Council seat, and John Szczesniak and Warren Johnson are squaring off for the Ward 1 seat being vacated by Randy Brewer.

In early voting, 281 of the city’s more than 17,000 registered voters turned out, Munda said.

There are also several city positions up for grabs in Nelson, which is half in Cherokee and half in Pickens County.

Both incumbents up for election on the Nelson City Council, Jackie Jarrett and Edith Portillo, are running to keep their seats but will each have to get more votes than Thad Thacker Jr., who also running. The top two vote-getters in the city election there will take over the jobs, because the city isn’t separated by wards or posts.

But Larry Ray, who is running to fill the vacant Nelson mayor’s position, has no opposition.

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