When State Rep Barry Fleming and State Senator Mike Dugan resigned their respective seats earlier this year, it set off the clock on a special election to replace both of them.
The seat vacated by Rep Fleming, House District 125, offers voters from Columbia and McDuffie Counties the opportunity to have a maxed-out sized voice because special elections tend to be low turnout affairs. With 13 days of early voting completed, only 705 folks there have cast their ballots in that race so far.
Senate Districts by rule are much larger than House Districts, but we are still seeing some anemic numbers in the race to Succeed Senator Dugan; voters in Carroll, Douglas, Haralson, and Paulding Counties have combined to cast 1,172 ballots.
For the sake of comparison, in a general election, it is not uncommon for House Districts to exceed 25,000 votes and for Senate districts to eclipse 60,000 votes.
Perhaps now isn’t the time to rub salt in the wound by pointing out that your local property taxes are what fund elections. The state does not pay for them outside of making the initial purchase of the voting machines. This means the dollars used to pay for elections are in direct competition with the dollars used to pay for a Sheriff Deputy’s and Fire Fighter’s salary, training, and equipment. Or your local library system or public parks. But the state will mandate that early voting has to take place.
I love early voting. I take advantage of it myself nearly every election cycle. And I cannot imagine how pitiful turnout would be in these special elections without it. But maybe it’s time, especially if the state is going to mandate the locals stay open when so few people are showing up, for the state to pick up the tab for the cost of running early voting.
Meanwhile, early voting in Senate District 30 and House District 125 will remain open until Friday the 9th, with Election Day on Tuesday, February 13th. We don’t know if there is any truth to the rumor that the Senate is taking bets on the over/under on what the final vote tallies will be.