Changes slated for November voting

City Attorney Nathan Davis will go before the board of elections next month to request that Sunday alcohol sales be put on the voting ballot in November.

City Attorney Nathan Davis will go before the board of elections next month to request that Sunday alcohol sales be put on the voting ballot in November.

ALBANY, Ga. — When Albany voters head to the polls in November, they’ll decide a series of local issues and races — with a few changes to the process.

The November 2011 election cycle will mostly be one for those voters who live in the city, as they’ll decide who sits in at least four different city commission seats.

If Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard qualifies to run for mayor as expected by Sept. 2, Dougherty County Board of Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson says that her seat will be vacated and will likely be on the November 8 ballot as well.

It’s a particularly important election given that only four votes are needed by the commission to pass local ordinances and resolutions that impact people who live within the local corporate limits of the city of Albany.

If Hubbard is forced to vacate her seat, Wards 1, 2, 4 and 6 will be up for grabs as well as the office of mayor, which would be a city-wide vote.

The current incumbents — Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard, Ward 4 Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Roger Marietta and Ward VI Commissioner Tommie Postell — have announced intentions to seek re-election.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams will retire at the end of his term in December. Four people have launched campaigns to replace him including Hubbard, local restaurateur B.J. Fletcher, former state representative John White and businessman Kirk Smith.

They won’t be officially on the ballot, however, unless they officially qualify during qualifying week, which starts at 9 a.m. on Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 2 at noon.

To run for mayor, a person must be at least 21 years old, and have lived in the city of Albany for at least two years. The candidate must also pay the $750 qualifying fee.

To run for one of the commission seats, the candidate must be 21 years of age, have lived in the city for at least two years and have lived within the ward they are campaigning for at least three months before election day.

The qualifying fee for commissioners is $450.

Nickerson also said that City Attorney Nathan Davis will present the board of elections with a resolution in September from the city commission requesting that the ballot include a question asking voters within the city whether they want alcohol to be sold at grocery stores and convenience stores on Sundays.

Currently, that item, if approved by the board, will only be on the ballot of city voters. Those voters who live in the county will only see that question if the county commission votes to ask the board of elections to put it on the ballot.

While county residents won’t be able to vote for any of the municipal races, including the mayor’s race, they will have at least one item on their ballots.

The Dougherty County School System is asking voters to renew a one-percent special local option sales tax that is expected to generate $100 million for the system over the next six years.

That item, unless the county votes on the Sunday sales question, will be the only question on the ballots of county voters.

Early voting will start Oct. 17. To be eligible to participate in the 2011 elections, voters must register by Oct. 11.

Nickerson also said there are some changes under way to some of the voting precincts.

Precinct 26, which was previously located on Branch Road, is moving to Pine Bluff Baptist Church at 499 Pine Bluff Road.

Precinct 30, which was previously at Life Changing Ministries, is moving to 1st Christian Church at 416 N. Westover Blvd.

If approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, the new polling places will be open for the Nov. 8 general election, Nickerson said.

Precinct 23 at Putney First Baptist Church is also in dire need of poll workers. Those interested can contact the elections office at 229-431-3247.