Election officials say turnout this morning has been good – the morning, lunchtime and after-work hours are typically busiest.
The Ringgold precinct is Catoosa County’s largest, with 6,454 registered voters. Nearly 300 ballots had been cast by 10 a.m., according to election officials.
Graysville precinct, with 3,672 registered voters, had people lined up 30 minutes before polls opened and had 77 ballots cast in the first hour, according to precinct manager Cindy Carter.
The city of Fort Oglethorpe has parts of several county precincts and a slice of Walker County within its city limits, making 5,562 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the special election for mayor.
Fort Oglethorpe election supervisor Orma Luckey said the turnout for the special election, on a ballot separate from the various county precincts, has been very good, with more than 200 ballots cast before noon.
Luckey said about 500 ballots were cast for mayor in early and absentee voting before today.
The Fort Oglethorpe city charter states that a candidate for mayor must achieve 40 percent of the vote.
There will be a runoff election between the top two vote-getters if no candidate reaches that mark.
The city budgeted $15,000 to cover the special election and a runoff if necessary.
The Fort Oglethorpe mayor’s race is one of only three contested races on local ballots.
The others are for the District 2 seat on the Catoosa County Board of Education, and for Georgia House District 6, which encompasses Keith and part of Blackstock precincts. The House race has the incumbent Republican Tom Dickson facing Democratic challenger Tommy Patterson.
Fort Oglethorpe mayor’s race
Four people are running for mayor of Fort Oglethorpe, to fill the unexpired term of Ronnie Cobb, who died Aug. 17. About a year is left in the term.
Judd Burkhart, 63, served as Fort Oglethorpe mayor from 2000-07 as well as two separate terms on the city council in the 1980s and ‘90s. Cobb defeated him by a landslide in 2007.
Richard Egeland, 57, served one term on the city council from 2004-08. He was unseated by Johnnie “Red” Smith in the 2007 election and lost his bid for a seat to Louis Hamm in 2009.
Lynn Long, 66, was the first Catoosa County commission chairman, serving from 1993-96. He ran for the position again in 2008 but lost to current chairman Keith Greene. He also served on the Fort Oglethorpe city council in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Harold Silcox, 71, served three terms on the city council, his most recent term ending in January after losing his bid for re-election.
Catoosa County school board race
Two seats are up for election on the Catoosa County Board of Education.
Incumbent David Moeller is running unopposed for District 4, which includes Blackstock, Keith, Poplar Springs and Woodstation precincts.
Incumbent Jane Everett is running against Pat Page and Daphne Scherzer for District 2, which includes Boynton, Duncan Park and Westside precincts.
Catoosa County ballots will have several statewide contests, as well as five state constitutional amendments and a tax referendum for voters to consider.
Most of Georgia’s statewide contests are for four-year terms, including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state school superintendent, and for the commissioners of agriculture, labor, and insurance.
Candidates for U.S. Senate, public service commissioner, and supreme court justice are elected to six-year terms.
Most of the top regional races are foregone conclusions — the candidates for U.S. House District 9, Georgia state Senate Districts 54 and 53, and Georgia House Districts 1 and 3, all Republicans, are running unopposed.
Two incumbents on the Catoosa County commission, two appeals court judges, and two superior court judges all have no contender as well.