Advance voting for the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary opens Feb. 13 at the Cobb Elections and Registration office in the West Park Government Center 736 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta. Voting will take place there Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until March 2. An extra day of voting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25, a Saturday.
Voters can also cast ballots from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27 through March 2 at the East Cobb Government Service Center, 4400 Lower Roswell Road in east Cobb; the South Cobb Community Center, 620 Lions Club Drive in Mableton; NorthStar Church, 3413 Blue Springs Road in Kennesaw and the Ward Recreation Center at Lost Mountain Park, 4845 Dallas Highway in Powder Springs.
Cobb Elections Director Janine Eveler said the Saturday voting was added as a way to help mitigate the state’s reduction in advance voting from 45 days to 21 days.
The deadline to register to vote in the primary is Feb. 6.
When at the polls, voters are required to have a photo identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or government-issued I.D. card, Eveler said.
Along with choosing a nominee for President, voters in several Cobb areas will have referendums on the ballot.
President Barack Obama is the only choice on the Democratic Presidential ballot. The GOP ballot includes current frontrunner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, as well as former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Also on the Republican ballot are U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who dropped out of the race after a sixth-place finish in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who left the Republican race to seek the Libertarian Party’s Presidential nomination.
Cobb Republican Party Chairman Joe Dendy is expecting a higher turnout for this primary than in 2008. He said the primary had 48 percent voter turnout that year.
“There’s a lot of interest,” Dendy said. “A lot of people really feel they need to be more active. They don’t like the way the country is going.”
Dissatisfaction with Obama has Republicans excited, Dendy said.
“It will be at least 50 percent turnout,” he said.
In Marietta, voters will also decide on $7.15 million in five-year general obligation bonds to build a 750-seat auditorium at Marietta High School. Marietta City Schools will pay the rest of the facility’s $9 million cost by dipping into its building fund.
Voters in Marietta, along with Powder Springs, Austell and unincorporated Cobb County, will also vote on liquor beer and wine sales between 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Sundays. The state legislature voted to allow communities to authorize Sunday sales last year. It was approved in numerous Georgia cities, including Smyrna, Acworth and Kennesaw, in November 2011.
On July 31, voters will get a chance to cast ballots in primaries for county offices.
Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee is expected to see challenges in the Republican Primary from former Chairman Bill Byrne, retired Marine Col. Mike Boyce and Larry Savage, who lost to Lee in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Sam Olens in 2010 after Olens resigned to run for attorney general.
East Cobb Republican Commissioner Bob Ott and south Cobb Commissioner Woody Thompson are up for reelection. So far, no one is challenging Ott, and only Lisa Cupid is running against Thompson in the Democratic Primary.
Numerous other offices will also be up in Cobb, including all state House and Senate seats. The county’s United States Congressmen also face challenges.
Rep. Phil Gingrey faces a primary challenge from Michael Opitz, according to the Federal Election Commission. So far, Cobb’s other two House members won’t see challenges until the general election.
Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) has one declared challenger, independent Wayne Michael Hecht. Rep. David Scott (D-south Cobb) has a challenge from Republican Charles Edward Flanegan Jr.
Several other county offices are up for re-election this year, including district attorney, sheriff, tax commissioner, superior court clerk, state court clerk and chief magistrate.
A number of non-partisan elections take place July 31. Superior Court Judges Adele Grubbs, Lark Ingram, LaTain Kell, Reuben Green, Dorothy Robinson, Mary Staley and Stephen Schuster face reelection, as do nine state court judges.
In addition, four members of the Cobb County Board of Education are up for re-election: Lynnda Eagle, David Morgan, David Banks and Alison Bartlett.
At least one referendum is already planned for the July 31 election, unless the state legislature makes a change. A 10-county region will vote on approving the TSPLOST transportation sales tax. The $6 billion in projects includes $689 million for an undetermined “enhanced premium transit service” that would connect Cobb to Midtown Atlanta, as well as road improvements.
But even with the TSPLOST on the ballot, Dendy doesn’t see the July election as drawing strong interest.
“It might push (turnout) up a little bit, maybe a point or two, but I don’t see it going as high as the Presidential Preference Primary,” he said.