TIFTON — As things slowly return to something approaching normal after the pandemic shutdowns, elections that had been postponed are back on the calendar.
Voters will have the chance to vote for the presidential preference primary in the general primary on June 9.
President Donald Trump is the only Republican on the presidential primary ticket.
Despite most of the contenders on Democratic ticket for the presidential primary having dropped out, voters still have 12 candidates on the list, including Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.
United States Senator David Purdue is running for reelection against a list of Democrats, including Sarah Riggs Amico, Marckeith DeJesus, James Knox, Tricia Carpenter McCracken, Jon Ossoff, Maya Dillard Smith and Teresa Pike Tomlinson.
United States Representative for District 8, Austin Scott, is running for reelection against fellow Republicans Vance Dean and Danny Ellyson and Democrat Lindsay Holliday.
The state senate seat currently held by Republican Carden Summers is being contested by three candidates.
Spud Bowen is running as a Republican and Mary Egler and Ruenett Melton are both running on the Democratic ticket.
Republican Penny Houston is seeking reelection for State Representative for District 170 against Democrat Andre Oliver.
Sam Watson, who holds the District 172 State Representative seat, is running unopposed.
Republican Clay Pirkle is running for reelection against Democrat Lethia Jones Kittrell for the District 155 State Representative seat.
Kevin Hutto and Bryce Johnson are both running for the office of district attorney for Tifton as Republicans.
Melanie Cross is running unopposed for the Judge of Superior Court for Tifton.
Locally, the contested seats up for election are:
• County Commissioner District 3: Lee Turner (R) vs. Paul Webb (R).
• Probate Judge: Incumbent Suzanne Carter Johnson (R) vs. Bobby “Keith” Newell (R).
The uncontested races include:
• County Commissioner District 2: Melissa Hughes.
• County Commissioner District 5: Buck Rigdon.
• County Commissioner District 7: Tony McBrayer.
• Clerk of Superior Court: Clay Pate.
• Coroner: Josh Hendrix.
• Sheriff: Gene Scarbrough.
• Tax Commissioner: Chad Alexander.
• Board of Education District 1: Marilyn Burks.
• Board of Education District 3: John Waddell.
• Board of Education District 7: Jonathan Jones.
• Chief Magistrate Judge: Bryan Cavenaugh.
Early voting will be held at the Tift County Elections Office on Saturday, May 30, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Monday, June 1 through Friday, June 5, 8 a.m.—5 p.m.
Election Day will see polling places open and those who are voting in person should go to their designated polling location.
Because of the pandemic, many voters requested absentee ballots.
According to Tift County Elections Supervisor Leila Dollison, 4,467 absentee ballots have been issued in Tift County.
Those who have received their absentee ballots have three ways to return them. They may mail the ballot back, as long as it has sufficient postage of $0.55 and is mailed in time to be received by the elections office by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Mailing it five days ahead of Election Day is recommended. The other options are to return it directly to the elections office or to drop it in a secure drop box.
Those voting absentee should remember to sign the oath on the back of the ballot. These signatures will be matched to the signature on file at the elections office.
She said that on Election Day, poll managers will have to call and verify if voters have requested an absentee ballot and whether or not it has been received in order to prevent people from voting twice.
Anyone who requested an absentee ballot and then decides to vote in person must bring their blank absentee ballot with them and turn it in or requesting in writing for the absentee ballot to be cancelled.