Early voting ends Friday, all precincts open Nov. 2

Signs advertise early voting at the Polk County Annex Building on West Avenue in Cedartown.

Voters have through Friday to take part in early voting for the Nov. 2 general municipal election as an education sales tax and alcohol referendums highlight the ballot.

Polk County Elections Director Brande Coggins reports that her office is seeing the turnout they expected for early voting, with 384 early in-person voters having cast ballots after Saturday.

“Although still lower than we would like, the information we gather this year will allow us to better prepare for local races in 2023. Through our efforts in using social media platforms and partnering with the cities, we have been able to reach more voters prior to Election Day,”

The Polk County Office of Elections and Registration conducts elections on behalf of the cities and Polk School District. Early voting began Oct. 12 and continues through Oct. 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at both the Polk County Administration Annex in Cedartown and the Rockmart Community Center on Hogue Avenue.

All Polk County precincts will be open Tuesday, Nov. 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with voters outside city limits only deciding on the extension of the current one-cent education special purpose, local option sales tax.

The inclusion of the E-SPLOST referendum by the school district expands the normal municipal election into a county-wide one.

While the numbers as of Saturday were ahead of the 254 ballots cast during early voting for the 2019 municipal elections, there was not a county-wide referendum on that ballot.

The last year an E-SPLOST question was on the ballot during an off-election year was 2017 when Coggins said her office saw 691 votes cast prior to Election Day. That election also saw contested races for the school board’s District 6 and Cedartown City Commission.

“We recognize there is continued opportunity in generating interest in local elections, and we will explore new options in relaying information to voters. It is the mission of this office to promote voter education and engagement to encourage voter activity at the local level,” Coggins said.

Only two races qualified enough candidates to rely on the results of this year’s election — the at-large contest for two seats on the Aragon City Council and Rockmart City Council’s Ward 1.

Incumbent Joe Henderson will face challenger Will Dover to become Rockmart City Council’s Ward 1 representative for the next four-year term., while incumbent Daniel Johnson, Dickie Gazaway and Stephen Wilson are on the ballot for the two Aragon City Council seats.

The ballot also contains alcohol referendums for each city’s residents to decide on as well as the E-SPLOST extension to benefit the Polk School District for all county voters.

Because the E-SPLOST referendum would mean a continuation of the sales tax, it will not increase the sales tax in the county and will not go into effect until January 2026 if it is approved by the voters.

Rockmart voters will decide whether stores in the city limits should be permitted to sell distilled spirits, while Cedartown is asking city residents whether the city should allow restaurants to serve alcohol as early as 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Aragon voters have two alcohol referendums to consider. One is to allow the sale of distilled spirits inside the city limits, while the other is for the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays.

Coggins said they feel things will go smoothly on Election Day but always encourage voters to take advantage of early voting to avoid the possibility of long wait times at larger voting locations or during busier hours such as lunch time and late afternoon.

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