Early voting for Aug. 10 primary election runoffs begins today

CONYERS -- Early voting for the Aug. 10 runoff election begins today in Rockdale County and runs through Friday.

Voters may appear in person this week to cast a ballot at the Rockdale County Board of Elections and Voter Registration office, located at 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

Election officials remind residents to bring one of the six approved photo identification methods, such as a driver's license, to cast a ballot.

Voters may also request a mailed absentee ballot through Friday. Mail-in ballots must be received by end of business on Election Day to be counted.

Cynthia Welch, Rockdale County Elections supervisor, said voters who did not vote in the July 20 primary election may do so in the runoff election, and choose either a Republican or Democratic ballot.

Those who did cast a ballot in the primary election must vote the same party ballot in the runoff election as they did then, she said.

Only a quarter of all registered voters in Rockdale County voted in the July 20 primary election. Traditionally, voter turnout for runoff elections is much lower.

Candidates in the runoff election are the top two vote-getters in races where no one received a majority of votes, 50 percent plus one vote, as required by state law.

Local races involve state House and Senate seats that will remain unsettled until the Nov. 2 General Elections.

* Georgia 94th House: Attorney Dar'Shun Kendrick and community activist Rhonda Peek, both of Lithonia, face off in the Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. Randal Mangham.

* Georgia 95th House: Democratic incumbent Rep. Toney Collins of Conyers is running against Pam Dickerson, a Delta Airlines flight attendant, who is also from Conyers.

* Georgia 17th Senate: Todd Hilton, an educator from Covington, and Rick Jeffares, businessman from Locust Grove, face each other in the Republican primary runoff for the seat being vacated by Sen. John Douglas.

Also, voters will decide on several statewide races on the runoff ballot, all but one on the Republican ballot.

* Governor: Voters will choose between former Secretary of State Karen Handel and former Congressman Nathan Deal for governor.

* Attorney General: Cobb County Commission Chairman Sam Olens and Preston W. Smith, a state senator from Rome, will meet to settle the Republican race for attorney general.

* Commissioner of Insurance: Ralph T. Hudgens, a state senator and business investor from Hull, and Maria Sheffield, an Atlanta attorney and former employee remain out of a field of nine Republican candidates in the primary election.

* Georgia Public Service Commission, District 2: John Douglas of Social Circle is running against Tim Echols. Douglas has represented Rockdale County in the Georgia Senate for six years in the 17th District. Echols is an executive of a nonprofit organization and lives in Winterville, near Athens.

* Secretary of State: The only Democratic statewide race in a runoff pits former state Sen. Gail Buckner from Jonesboro against Georganna Sinkfield, a state representative from Atlanta.

For more information about voting in Rockdale County, call the Rockdale County Board of Elections Office at 770-278-7333, or go to the Georgia Secretary of State's Election website, www.sos.ga.gov/Elections.