Election official predicts low primary turnout
by Joshua Sharpe
May 18, 2014 04:00 AM | 3985 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Janet Munda
Janet Munda
CANTON — By the time the ballots in the primary are counted Tuesday, Cherokee elections supervisor Janet Munda expects 20 to 25 percent of the county’s voters to have turned out — though she’s been surprised before.

“But I can guarantee you this: The trend is that whatever happens here happens across the state,” she said.

On Tuesday, voters in Cherokee County can join their fellow Georgians by heading to the polls to cast their ballot in primary elections for federal, state and local offices between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at their regular precincts.

Early voting for the primary finished Friday night at 7. According to the elections office, 6,533 of the 125,000 registered voters in Cherokee County have already cast their ballots — about 5.2 percent. Two-thirds of the ballots came in this week when four polling locations opened in addition to the Cherokee County Elections Office.

The turnout might not have been great, but Munda said the fact some of the county’s local and state lawmakers are running unopposed was likely a factor.

Of the five polling places open during early voting, Munda said the Hickory Flat library saw the most voters, perhaps because of the state House District 22 race.

The seat is held by Rep. Sam Moore (R-Macedonia), the only candidate in the Cherokee state delegation with any primary competition. Moore is running against Meagan Biello and Wes Cantrell. If a runoff is necessary in this or any other race, it will be held July 22.

All of the county’s other Representatives and Senators are running unopposed for re-election in the primary.

Other races in Cherokee County have plenty of action, however.

The Board of Commissioners and School Board will see the most competition — the seven available seats on those boards all have multiple candidates vying for the Republican nomination in order to continue on to the general election.

While they’re after the GOP nomination, all the candidates running for those boards — and every other Cherokee local and state office — are Republicans, so the winners Tuesday are set to sail into office.

For the chairman’s seat on the Board of Commissioners, incumbent Buzz Ahrens is seeking an unprecedented third term against former Holly Springs City Councilwoman Jackie Archer.

District 1 Commissioner Harry Johnston, a 14-year veteran of the board, is facing challenger Steve West, a lifelong county resident and business owner.

Three candidates seek the District 4 seat of retiring Commissioner Jason Nelms: Woodstock Planning Commission member Kenneth Scott Gordon; Joseph Robert, a Woodstock business owner; and former Cherokee Commissioner Larry Singleton.

In the races for the Board of Education, all four seats up for election have competition, although only one of the incumbents is running.

District 4 board member Rick Steiner is seeking re-election against Robert Strozier, a Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency Advisory Board member and Woodstock resident.

Board members Michael Geist of District 3, Rob Usher of District 5 and Robert Wofford of District 6 aren’t seeking re-election.

Woodstock resident John Harmon and Canton resident Brett Ladd are competing for Geist’s seat. District 5 residents Erica Williams and Clark Menard are running for Usher’s seat. Former School Board member Mike Chapman and Canton resident Susan Tlacil are squaring off to replace Wofford.

For information on where to vote, go to voter.cherokeega.com.

For more information about the local candidates running for office, the Cherokee Tribune’s 2014 Primary Election Voter’s guide is available online at cherokeetribune.com.

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