Sunday, October 22, 2023

Early Voting In Watkinsville City Council Races Very Light After Six Days Of Voting

***Only Two Voters Cast A Ballot On Saturday

Only 89 of the 2,369 eligible voters have cast a ballot in the first six days of early voting for the two Council seats on the ballot for the Nov. 7 elections in Watkinsville.

Only three persons have requested an absentee ballot, and as of Saturday none of those ballots had been received by the Oconee County Office of Elections and Registration.

Two persons cast a ballot in person on Saturday, the first of two Saturdays for early voting.

The heaviest days of voting were on Monday and Tuesday, when 24 persons each day voted at the Office of Elections and Registration on the first floor of the Oconee County Administrative Building, 7635 Macon Highway, north of Watkinsville.

Early voting continues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m through Nov. 3, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28.

Voters are choosing between Rebecca Billings and incumbent Chuck Garrett for Council Post 1 and between incumbent Connie Massey and Carolyn A. Maultsby for Council Post 2.

The races are nonpartisan, but Billings and Maultsby accepted an invitation to speak at the Monday (Oct. 23) meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party. That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Lobby Meeting Room in the Piedmont Oconee Health Campus, 1305 Jennings Mill Road.

Precinct And City Numbers

All of Watkinsville is in the City Hall Precinct, but not all of the City Hall Precinct falls within the boundaries of the city of Watkinsville.

The total number of registered voters in the City Hall Precinct is 4,197, according to Jennifer Stone, Assistant Director of Elections and Registration for Oconee County.

City Hall Precinct Map With Watkinsville City Boundary

The total number of registered voters on Oct. 16 in the city of Watkinsville, when early voting began, was 2,369.

The total number of county wide registered voters is 32,750, according to Stone.

In the 2021, only 596 voters cast a ballot in the Watkinsville Council races, when two council seats and the Mayor were on the ballot.

Mayor Brian Brodrick’s name appears on the Nov. 7 ballot, but he has no opposition.

Past Margins

Two elections in Watkinsville in the past have been decided by very narrow margins.

In November of 2019, Bob Smith defeated then incumbent Watkinsville Mayor Dave Shearon by two votes. 

In 2016, Dan Matthews defeated Mark Melvin by one vote. (Note: When the absentee votes were counted, the difference was by two votes.)

Billings ran against Brodrick for mayor in 2021, and she received 163 votes (27.3 percent) to Brodrick’s 433 (72.7 percent). 

That same year, Maultsby ran against Massey.

Maultsby received 138 votes (24.0 percent) to Massey’s 438 (76.0 percent).

That year, Garrett ran for reelection unopposed.

In a special election in June of 2021, Garrett had defeated Maultsby in a race for Post 1, with 76.4 percent of the 390 votes cast to Maultsby’s 23.6 percent.


On her qualification form, Billings listed her profession as “retail,” her age as 42, her address as 149 VFW Drive, and her time in residence in Georgia as 42 years, with all of those in Oconee County and 10 of those in Watkinsville.

Garrett listed his profession as sales manager, his age as 66, his address as 25 South Main Street, and his time in residence in Georgia as 66 years, with all of those in Oconee County and the last five in Watkinsville. He has served on Council since June of 2021.

Massey listed her occupation on the qualification form as retired, her age as 73, her address as 2 Second Street, her time in Georgia as 44 years, with 38 of those in Oconee County, and the same number of years in Watkinsville. She has served on Council since January of 2013.

Maultsby listed her occupation as self-employed, her age as 58, her address as 1050 Taylors Drive, her time in Georgia as 26 years, with all of those in Oconee County and in Watkinsville.

Oconee County Republican Party Chair Kathy Hurley said that all four candidates were invited to appear before the Republican Party on Monday but “Chuck Garrett declined and we never received a reply from Connie Massey.”

Garrett confirmed that he and Massey had been invited and “I replied back to Kathy to let her know that I wouldn’t be at the forum.”

Massey never responded to my email asking her as to whether the had received the invitation.

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