By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

As the July 22 runoff election approaches, the Morgan County Board of Elections (BOER) is encouraging local voters to participate, with several key state races occurring, including the local face off between Republican candidates, Dave Belton, of Morgan County, and Aaron Brooks, of Covington, for the District 112 Georgia House seat. Neither candidate earned over 50 percent of the vote during the May 20 election, which requires a runoff election before either candidate can be named the Republican Party’s official candidate. It was a close race, with Belton earning 33.88 percent of the vote and Brooks earning 35.35 percent of the vote. The winner will run against democratic candidate Patsy Harris, during the general election in November. Also on the ballot for the July 22 runoff election are the races for senate, U.S. representative and state school superintendent. Republican candidates for the senate race are Jack Kingston and David Perdue. Republican candidates squaring off to run for the U.S. representative are Mike Collins and Jody Hice. Michael Buck and Richard Woods, Republican candidates, are racing for the chance to become the state school superintendent. The Democratic candidates squaring off for the chance to become state school superintendent are Alisha Morgan and Valerie Wilson. The only Democratic candidates on the ballot for Morgan County are for state superintendent.

According to Bobby Howington, elections supervisor for the BOER, there is statewide interest around all of these races, but traditionally runoff elections yield low voter turn out. “We might have 10 percent turnout because of this local race between Belton and Brooks. But, as of right now, only 2 percent of registered voters have cast a vote for early voting,” said Howington. “Be sure to get out and vote. Runoffs have low participation, generally, and we would like to see more involvement.” Early voting began on June 30 and will continue until July 18. Registered voters can cast their votes early at the BOER, located at 434 Hancock Street in Madison, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The county will provide free transportation for people to vote at their assigned precincts on the day of the runoff elections. If you need transportation to vote, call Morgan County Transit at 706-342-4052 to make arrangements. According to Howington, arrangements should be made at least a full day in advance. “With such small turn outs, every vote really counts. I hope more people cast their votes and let their voices be heard,” said Howington.