Pickens voters may begin casting ballots at the Pioneer Road election office beginning Monday, April 28 in early voting for the May 20 Primary Election, with one local commissioner seat (for Pickens’ western district); two school board seats and a SPLOST referendum up for decision.
Early voting runs from April 28 through May 16. Voters can visit the elections office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting will also be held on Saturday, May 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the same office.
On the May 20 Election Day all voters must report to their regular polling place.
There are a host of statewide primary contest including congressional seats and governor. See sample ballots in the April 24th Pickens Preogress.
All Pickens voters regardless of party will see the one-penny sales tax on primary ballot.
Those requesting a republican ballot will see races for two school board seats and republican voters in the western district of the county will also see a commissioner race.
It is important to note that school board candidates must run for the post that serves the area where they live, but ALL voters vote on all school board races as they run at-large.
As has become the norm with Pickens politics the action is on the republican ballot only in the primary, with all local candidates qualifying through the Pickens GOP last week.
The contested races are:
• School Board Seat 2 - Incumbent Wendy Lowe, who has served as chairman since being elected to her first term, three years ago; challenger Daniel Bell, an auto collision repair instructor from Talking Rock.
• School Board Seat 5 – Incumbent Dan Fincher, a retired veterinarian; challenger Delane Lewis, who works as a school counselor at the Mountain Education Center from Big Canoe.
A third school board seat held by Byron Long will go uncontested with Long being the only candidate to qualify.
All voters will also weigh in on continuing the one-penny sales tax, which will go primarily to fund roads throughout the county.
Voters who live in the western half of the county will see incumbent Jerry Barnes challenged by Bart Connelly who ran for the position two years ago. Following this election the seat will move to a four-year term.
Elections supervisor Julianne Roberts said one of the biggest issues they have is with voters who don’t understand the primary system and don’t want to choose a ballot. Voters must choose either a Republican or Democrat ticket to vote for that party’s candidates.
“They don’t want to choose a party ballot [then don’t understand why they don’t see the local races],” she said in an earlier interview.
In commissioner and school board races, since there were no democrats to qualify, the winner of the primary will get the seat.
One other note, voters might keep in mind. Local state rep Rick Jasperse, qualified to run for re-election as a republican. He is being challenged by Charles Hendrix who Hendrix qualified as a democrat. Since they are in two different parties, voters will not see them head-to-head until the November general election. Neither face opposition in the primary.
Anyone with concerns on their registration status should call the elections office at 706-253-8781.