CONYERS -- The time to decide major party nominations for local, state and federal offices begins Monday with the start of early voting.
Rockdale County Elections Supervisor Cynthia Welch predicted a voter turnout for the July 20 primary election of 45 percent that is higher than experienced in primaries in recent years.
Welch said competitive races in both Democratic and Republican primaries at all levels and a local $75 million special purpose local option sales tax referendum have generated interest among Rockdale County voters.
Welch added there are 46,747 active, registered voters in the county. Her 45 percent turnout prediction equates to 21,036.
Early voting in Rockdale County can begin as early as 180 days prior to the election day and basically involves absentee ballots. Voters can cast ballots during the early voting period either by mail after they request an absentee ballot or in person at the Board of Elections office, located at the county's Government Annex, 1400 Parker Road, Lobby C.
The Board of Elections will begin in-person early voting Monday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In-person voting will continue at the same times, Mondays through Fridays, from Monday through July 13.
From July 14 to 16, the week before the primary election day, the Board of Elections will open for extended hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Also, after a good response during the 2008 elections, the Board of Elections will open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 10. The office will be closed on July 5 in observance of Independence Day.
Those who vote in person must provide one of six approved forms of photo identification as outlined in state law, including a driver's license or valid U.S. passport.
All Rockdale County voters will be asked to decide whether to continue a 1-percent sales tax to fund various capital improvement projects in the county and city and $12 million for replacing aging water distribution pipelines of Rockdale Water Resources.
The proposed SPLOST is expected to raise $75 million for six years. The sales tax program would start in April and end in 2017.
The city of Conyers is expected to receive about $10.6 million, which is based on population.
Also, the Republican Party of Rockdale County will have a straw poll question on its primary election ballot concerning mass transit, asking "Do you oppose MARTA light rail in Rockdale County?"
Rockdale County GOP Chairwoman Kellie Pharr said the subject of extending MARTA to Conyers has been discussed privately among Democratic lawmakers for some time.
For more information, call the Board of Elections at 770-278-7333 or visit the the Elections page of the websites of either Rockdale County, www.rockdalecounty.org, or the Georgia Secretary of State, www.sos.georgia.gov.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 3, 2010
A proposed Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, which will be included on the July 20 primary election ballot, would not sunset when $75 million in revenue is generated. Due to an intergovernmental agreement between Rockdale County and the city of Conyers, the 1 percent sales tax collection, if approved by voters, will be collected for six years, beginning in April 2011.
The Citizen regrets the error.