Rome voters will get a chance to talk with City Commission candidates one-on-one Thursday at a gathering hosted by the Floyd County Democratic Party.
The free meet-and-greet is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Willingham Village community room, 560 N. Division St. Tina Bucher, the party’s communications director, said in a release that all nine candidates have been invited and refreshments will be served.
“Each will be provided with a table and attendees will have the opportunity to speak with them individually about why they’re running, what they see as the most pressing issues facing the city, what they hope to bring to the table, and any other questions,” Bucher said.
Early voting starts Oct. 14 to fill six seats on the nine-member board. Monday, Oct. 7, is the last day to register to vote in the election, which is set for Nov. 5.
Officials are working to move the early voting location to the Floyd County Health Department instead of the County Administration Building.
They agreed to seek a new site during the Joint Services Committee meeting Tuesday.
“If we really want to make it easy, this ain’t the building ... (but) It’s y’all’s call,” County Manager Jamie McCord told city commissioners at the Joint Services Committee meeting Tuesday.
The two-story administration building on East Fourth Avenue is cramped for space and parking is at a premium. The Rome Civic Center — a popular and accessible location — has rentals scheduled during the two weeks of early voting.
Mayor Bill Collins and other attendees discussed options including the Kelsey-Aycock-Burrell Center, the Forum River Center, the senior centers and the Rome Tennis Center downtown. However, any site must first be cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The health department at 16 E. 12th St. is already pre-cleared as a polling place. City Manager Sammy Rich said he would check on its availability for early voting.
“An added benefit is that it’s a bus stop, too,” said County Commissioner Wright Bagby, a former city mayor.
Five candidates are seeking the three Ward 1 seats: Jim Bojo, Mark Cochran and the incumbents Bill Irmscher, Milton Slack and Sundai Stevenson. The Ward 3 race, where Commissioner Evie McNiece is not seeking reelection, has four candidates: J.J. Walker Seifert, Bonny Askew and incumbents Bill Collins and Craig McDaniel.
Voters will be able to choose three candidates in each race. The three in each ward with the most votes will take the seats in January for four-year terms.