Kirk addresses election ballots, polling
by Jessica Loeding
Oct 14, 2011 | 2543 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk tests a voting machine this week. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk tests a voting machine this week. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Although the Nov. 8 election will be simple for most of the county, voters in Emerson and White may experience a bit of confusion.

Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk said residents in the county who are not within any city limits and will be voting only on the county Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax should go their normal polling place.

"If you want to vote early, you come to this office or to the [Cartersville] Civic Center just like always. If you want your ballot in the mail, you send us an absentee ballot request and we send you your ballot in the mail. Nothing has changed in those cases," Kirk said.

The Bartow County Board of Elections and Voter Registration is located at 105 N. Bartow St., Cartersville, and Cartersville Civic Center is 435 W. Main St., Cartersville.

"The complexity comes from the cities," Kirk said.

Election operations will vary among the cities, and those with questions are asked to call the elections office at 770-387-5098.

Taylorsville and Adairsville

"Taylorsville and Adairsville are the simplest. They're not having elections this year," Kirk said.

Both cities called off their municipal elections this year because all races were unopposed and no questions were listed on the ballot.

"Residents of these two cities will vote as they would in any other county election," Kirk said.

Taylorsville and Adairsville residents will vote only on the SPLOST.

Cartersville

"Cartersville is the same as always," Kirk said. "We are conducting their elections -- here for early voting; here and the civic center for advanced voting; request an absentee ballot from this office."

Kingston and Euharlee

"Kingston and Euharlee are conducting their own elections," Kirk said. "However, because the cities have the same polling place as the county, the municipal contests and the county SPLOST question have been combined onto one ballot. This is great for the residents of these two cities who wish to vote this year. Prior to Election Day, they can go to either city hall, the Cartersville Civic Center or the Board of Elections office to vote in person, and they can request a ballot in the mail from either city hall or the Board of Elections Office. If they wish to vote on Election Day, they will go to city hall."

Residents of these two cities will complete one absentee ballot application before Election Day or one voter certificate at the polling place on Election Day, and will receive all the races they are eligible to participate in on one ballot.

White

White is where things begin to get complicated, as the city's polling place is at a different location than the county's polling place, and the city will conduct its election separate from the county.

"If you live within the city limits of White and you want to vote on both the county SPLOST and the municipal races before Election Day, you either have to go to two different places or request a ballot from two different places with two different applications," Kirk said.

Voters must apply for an absentee ballot at city hall to vote in the municipal race, and will vote on the city race at city hall on Election Day. They also must apply to the Board of Elections for an absentee ballot for the SPLOST vote, and either vote early at the Board of Elections office or vote at the Bartow County Fire Department station in White on Election Day.

"This comes down to, in the case of White, we use the county fire department, they moved their's to city hall, which is across the street. So, on Election Day, you will just have to go across the street," he continued.

Signs will be posted informing voters of the two separate locations and poll workers will be instructing residents at both locations that they must visit two buildings to vote on the municipal races and the county's SPLOST.

"Luckily this election is small enough that it really shouldn't be an issue with them just crossing the street," said Kirk, who added that the elections office will work with the city to ensure voters receive both ballots.

"I think really what's going to be the savior here is absentee ballots," he said. "A postage stamp will get you a ballot."



Emerson

Emerson will operate the same as White, with the exception that Board of Elections workers will staff the city's polls.

Absentee ballots for Emerson can be requested from city hall or the elections office. Early and advanced voting for Emerson will be held at the Board of Elections' office, and one week prior to the election, Emerson City Hall will open only for the municipal vote. The county polling place in Emerson is South Central Middle School.

"If you want to vote in both races, you have to do two different applications still because we are conducting them separate," Kirk said. "If you want to do early or advanced, we will be open here, and then the week prior to Election Day, you will be able to go to Emerson City Hall and vote on just the city's election. But, if you go to the civic center for advanced voting, it will be only SPLOST."

Early voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Board of Elections, as well as in Kingston, Euharlee and White. It continues through Nov. 4, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advanced voting begins Oct. 31 at the elections office; civic center for county and Cartersville voters; Kingston; Euharlee; White; and Emerson.

The Board of Elections office currently is accepting applications for absentee ballots and will begin issuing ballots Oct. 17.

"You don't have to use a special form," Kirk said of absentee ballot requests. "The application has to contain your name, your residential address, date of birth, what election you are requesting a ballot for and your signature."

Those requesting absentee ballots for Cartersville, Kingston and Euharlee will get both the municipal race and SPLOST; Emerson and White will receive only the SPLOST ballot from the elections office, which will work to ensure the voter also receives the city's ballot.

"We want to make this as easy as possible," Kirk said.

For more information, call the Board of Elections at 770-387-5098.