Early voting starts todayBy SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
Early voting for the vacant Georgia House District 71 seat begins today.
The special election to fill the seat will be Feb. 5. A runoff, if needed, will be March 5.
Early voting takes place at the Coweta Voter Registration Office in the County Administration Building at 22 East Broad St., downtown Newnan.
There are six candidates vying for the seat, vacated by the withdrawal of Robert Stokely. The district, which currently covers most of the eastern half of Coweta, except for Senoia and Haralson, and a sliver of Peachtree City, was represented by Billy Horne, R-Sharpsburg, for the past several years. Stokely was elected in 2012 but withdrew after being appointed to a judgeship in Coweta Magistrate Court.
There are five Republicans, and one Democrat, running for the seat. The Republicans are: Richard Weisser, a real estate broker; David Stover, a business owner; Darryl Marmon, an attorney; Michael Farbo Jr., a U.S. Army Special Operations retiree; and Tom Crymes, a general contractor. Teacher Cynthia Bennett is running as a Democrat. There is no party primary, and all candidates run together.
"Everything is ready, we are just waiting for the crowd," said Coweta Chief Registrar Joan Hamilton on Tuesday.
She's not expecting much of one. So far, there has been "very little interest" in early voting or absentee ballots.
The office has already mailed out absentee ballot applications to the "regulars" who typically vote with a paper ballot. But only about 100 of those applications have been turned in so far, Hamilton said.
Paper ballots are being mailed out today, she said.
If you want to vote with a paper ballot, it's best not to dawdle. Ballots, except for military ballots, must be in Hamilton's office by 7 p.m. on election day.
Hamilton's office can mail out ballots as late as Feb. 1. But waiting that long "would really be cutting it short," Hamilton said.
The easiest way to get an absentee ballot mailed to you is to download an application from the Georgia Secretary of State's elections website, at www.sos.georgia.gov/elections .
The application can then be mailed to the voter registration office at 22 East Broad St., Newnan, Ga., 30263 or faxed to 770-683-2800.
You can also get a ballot application at the voter registration office — you can call and have one sent to you, or you can fill one out at the office. Lastly, voters can call the office and get the information needed for an application, write it all down on a sheet of paper, and send it in.
The state House districts changed in 2012 as a result of redistricting. If you're not sure what district you are in, the easiest way to find out is to go to the secretary of state's My Voter Page, at www.sos.georgia.gov/mvp .
Those without internet access, or with other questions, may contact the Coweta Voter Registration Office at 770-254-2615.