Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Early Voting Underway For Nov. 2 Referendum On Sales Tax Increase, City Races

***Democrats Plan Non-Partisan Meet And Greet***

Only 54 voters had cast a ballot at the end of the second day of early voting on Wednesday for the Nov. 2 elections.

Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Oct. 29 at the Civic Center, 2661 Hog Mountain Road, west of Butler’s Crossing.

Saturday voting, also at the Civic Center, will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 23.

So far, 50 voters have requested an absentee ballot.

The county has 32,066 registered voters eligible to participate in the election.

Voters county-wide are deciding on the proposed new 1 percent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Voters in Watkinsville are selecting a mayor and two council members, while voters in North High Shoals will be selecting three Council members. Bogart voters also will be selecting two Council members.

The Oconee County Democratic Party has organized a virtual Meet and Greet on Oct. 21 for all candidates in the city races and has invited mayors and council members in the four cities not up for election to join as well.

The Oconee County Republican Party has organized a candidate forum on Oct. 25 for the 13 persons who are seeking the party nomination in March for the open 10th Congressional District seat.

Absentee Ballots

Voters can submit an absentee ballot application by filling out a form, available online, and sending or delivering it to the Office of Elections and Registration, 10 Court Street, opposite the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Fridays.

The application also can be returned via email to or by fax to 706 310 3486.

The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is Oct. 22.

The completed ballot can be returned by mail or to the drop box inside the Board of Elections and Registration Office, 10 Court Street, opposite the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

The drop box also will be open during early voting hours for receipt of completed absentee ballots.

Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on election day, Nov. 2. Those ballots can be mailed, placed in the Drop Box when it is open, or handed to election officials at the Office of Elections and Registration.

Democratic Meet And Greet

The city races on the ballot are nonpartisan, and the Oconee County Democratic Party extended invitations to all of the candidates whose names will be on the ballot on Nov. 2 to join in the Meet and Greet at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 21.


Access will be on Zoom via a link not yet released. The party puts the links on its Facebook page.

The party also invited the mayors and members of councils in the four cities who are not up for re-election to join as well.

Each speaker will be given the opportunity to talk for five minutes.

Those wishing to ask questions will be instructed to refrain from doing so until all of those wishing to speaking have spoken.

As of the end of the day on Wednesday, 21 of the 54 votes cast were within the City of Watkinsville, and three votes were within the Town of North High Shoals.


Both Watkinsville mayor candidates, Rebecca Billings and incumbent Brian Brodrick, have agreed to join the Zoom meeting.


Carolyn Maultsby and Connie Massey, the incumbent, are seeking election to Post 2 on Council.

Pam Davis, who is organizing the Meet and Greet, said on Wednesday that Maultsby has declined to participate, while Massey has not yet responded to the request.

In Watkinsville, Chuck Garrett, Brett Thomas, and Christine Tucker also have agreed to attend.

Jeff Campbell has not yet responded, Davis said.

Garrett’s name will be on the ballot for Post 1, though he has only write-in opposition.


In Bogart, Jenny Bridges and Greg Maddox have committed to participate, while David Kilpatrick has declined, saying he will be out of town, Davis said.

In Bogart, Council seats are all at-large, and the top two vote getters will take the two Council seats now held by Bridges and Kilpatrick.

Davis said on Wednesday she had not yet heard from Mayor Janet Jones as well as from Council Members Brenda Acton and John Larkin.

Bogart, which is partially in Clarke County, handles its own elections, while the other three cities in the county have turned over election management to the Oconee County Office of Elections and Registration.

Bogart had three voters in the first two days of early voting, according to Jenny Jordan, election supervisor for the city. 

Voting, by paper ballot, is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays at the Historic Agricultural Center, for Oconee County and Clarke County residents who live inside the city.

North High Shoals

In North High Shoals, Megan Cundiff and Jared Strickland, both seeking Post 5, have agreed to participate in the Meet and Greet.

Sample Ballot North High Shoals

In North High Shoals, Mayor Violet Dawe and Eric Wright have agreed to participate. 

Wright will be on the ballot for Post 3 uncontested except by write-in.

Dawe is stepping into the Mayor position after the death of Toby Bradberry.

Dawe’s name is not on the ballot because hers was a special election and she had no opposition.

Hilda Kurtz, incumbent for Post 4, will be on the ballot uncontested, but she has declined to participate because she will be out of town.

Davis said she has not yet heard from Eric Carlson and Jason Presley, Post 1 and Post 2 Council members respectively, neither of whom will be on the ballot.


The terms of the Mayor and all four Council Members in Bishop expire at the end of the year, but no election is being held because only one person qualified for each of the seats.

Davis said that Deborah Lucas and Drew Kurtz have agreed to join the Meet and Greet.

Lucas will be assuming Council Post 2, made vacant by the decision of long-time Council member and former Mayor Nedra Johnson to step down.

Kurtz holds Post 3.

Davis said that Mayor Johnny Pritchett and Post 1 Council Member Chuck Hadden declined to participate.

Melody Porterfield, Post 4 Council Member, had not yet responded as of Wednesday, Davis said.


Voters in the unincorporated parts of the county as well as in the four cities are being asked to approve an increase in the sales tax from 7 to 8 percent, with the new revenue to be used for transportation projects.

Sample Ballot Watkinsville

The tax, if approved, will run for five years or until $56 million is raised.

The ballot language does not list specific projects to be funded by the tax, but county officials have said the money if approved will be used to reduce property taxes by 1 mill.

This will be possible because transportation projects currently being funded by property tax will be funded by the new sales tax.

Other uses of the sales tax will be for intersection improvements, multi-use paths, and roadway paving.

The current county millage rate is 6.65 for unincorporated areas in the county and 7.59 for the incorporated areas of the county.

Clarke County already has a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax in place, and its total tax is 8 percent. The sales tax in Barrow County is 7 percent.

GOP Forum

Kathy Hurley, chair of the Oconee County Republican Party, said she has gotten commitments to participate in the Oct. 25 forum from all 13 of the Republican candidates seeking to replace Jody Hice as 10th District representative in the U.S. Congress.

The in-person event is to be held at Hadden Estates, 1112 Cliff Dawson Road, north of Butler’s Crossing.

The doors will open at 5:45, and the forum will begin at 6:30.

WGAU radio news director Tim Bryant will moderate the event, which will be live streamed on WGAU.

Participants are required to register in advance, though tickets are free.

Questions should be submitted in advance to

Those submitting questions are asked to use Candidate Forum Questions as the subject line in the email.

The local party normally does not allow independent video and audio recording of its meetings, but Hurley said that prohibition will be lifted if each of the candidates agrees.

1 comment:

Lee Becker said...

I do not publish comments that are submitted unless the person uses her or his actual name.
I just deleted a comment that did not meet that requirement.
The person questioned whether Garrett has Write-In opposition. As the sample ballots show, it is possible to Write In a name. Only those who have registered as a Write In candidate get counted, but any name written in is recorded.