Monday, June 07, 2021

Watkinsville Early Voting Slowing In Final Days Before June 15 Special Election

***Only Two Absentee Ballots Returned

Early voting slowed to a trickle on Monday, with only 11 persons casting a ballot in the Watkinsville Special Election that will fill the position of Mayor and Post 1 Council Member.

As of the end of the day on Monday, a total of only 232 voters had cast a ballot, and two more had returned an absentee ballot.

The total of 234 ballots cast is 10.4 percent of the city’s 2,247 eligible voters.

Early voting continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday at City Hall, and election day voting, also at City Hall, will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Oconee County Elections and Registration Office, which is running the election for the City of Watkinsville, has issued seven absentee ballots, according to Jennifer Stone, assistant director of Elections and Registration.

Peter Steckel, who is listed on the ballot as a candidate for Mayor, officially withdrew on Friday, so only votes for Acting Mayor Brian Brodrick will be counted on Tuesday.

The remaining contest is between Chuck Garrett and Carolyn Maultsby. The race is nonpartisan, though Maultsby labels herself as a Republican on her campaign signs.

Turnout Expectations

The Special Election is just that, and there is little to go on to predict final turnout based on early voting. Only registered voters in Watkinsville vote can cast a ballot.

Click To Enlarge

In the March county-wide Special Election for the Education Local Option Sales Tax Referendum, 7.0 percent of the 3,929 registered voters in the county’s City Hall Precinct cast a ballot.

That was higher than the 6.3 percent turnout county-wide.

The City Hall precincts includes large areas outside the city boundaries.

Based on city of Watkinsville registration at the beginning of the year, 57.0 percent of the voters in the precinct are within the city limits of Watkinsville.

Of the 1,925 votes cast county-wide in the March Special Election, 1,254, or 65.1 percent, were cast in early voting.

Candidate Forum

Maultsby, Garrett, and Brodrick participated in a Candidate Forum on May 24 sponsored by the Oconee County Republican Party and Bethel Baptist Church.

Withdrawal Notice Filed June 4, 2021

Steckel had announced before the Forum that he was moving out of the county and would withdraw.

He only filed his official papers on Friday, and voters this week are being informed that his vote will not be counted though his name remains on the ballot.

The city called the Special Election after Mayor Bob Smith stepped down unexpectedly in March.

Brodrick vacated Post 1 and was elected acting mayor, necessitating the call for a Special Election to fill Post 1 in addition to elect a Mayor.

Both the Post 1 and Mayor position will be up for election again in November.

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