Election Day voting
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 3
Where: Voting locations vary by city. Check your sample ballot at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov or the listed stories.
1. Presidential politics get all the limelight
Wait. You thought the election was next year? If you’re talking about the cadre of Republican candidates and those few Democrats interested in running the country, then you’re right. But this November we’re voting on representation at the local level. So, yes, there is an election Nov. 3. And while the topics don’t get national media coverage, you may care just as much about that new traffic light on your commute or the vision for the downtown square as you do foreign policy or the minimum wage.
2. You don’t know anything about the candidates
Fair point. If you’re not informed and plan to pick candidates based on who has the coolest name, maybe you should stay home. Candidates in small local races often don’t have websites or press offices to disperse information. Lucky for you, that’s our job. So check out past coverage to help you determine which candidates you agree with most.
3. You’re confused
All Gainesville residents can vote for city council members who are up for election this year. Same goes for residents of other Hall cities. But for the Gainesville Board of Education, you can only vote within your ward. And all Hall County residents can vote on the sales tax for education. We know, it’s a lot to keep up with. Check your sample ballot at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov so you’ll know exactly where to cast your vote and what to expect when you head into the voter booth. Don't forget, some polling precincts have changed since the last election. Also, be sure to take your photo ID.
4. No one else is voting
It’s true, city elections typically have dismal turnout. Election officials predict 10 percent of registered voters will show up. In early voting, 1,903 cast ballots throughout Hall County. But then again, if you tend to think your one vote doesn’t matter, it could actually make the difference here. Consider the 2014 Hall County Board of Education vote: The incumbent garnered 50 percent of the vote, just two votes shy of winning outright. His challengers were separated by a mere three votes until a recount widened the margin to seven votes.
5. You’re not registered
If that’s the case, it’s too late this time around. Sad face. But you can register online for the March 1 presidential primary. The deadline for that is Feb. 1.
6. It’s raining
Yes, this is a thing. Turnout, especially for Democrats, falls when it’s yucky outside. There's a 20 percent chance of rain Tuesday in Gainesville, according to the National Weather Service. Get out there anyway. You can do it.