The very important mid-term elections are coming up in November and there may be a few surprises you aren’t aware of.
Surprises are not good when you are standing in front of the Ballot Marking Device (BMD) to cast your vote in an election.
If you live in northeast Peachtree City, your Georgia House district has changed. The lines were redrawn after the 2020 census and you are now in House District 68.
I know people knocking on doors in northeast Peachtree City to educate voters about the upcoming election. What they are finding is not just surprising, it’s shocking … and a bit scary. More than 80% of the voters contacted have no clue that effective in January 2023, their home is in a different Georgia house district than what they are in now.
Similar redistricting was done throughout Fayette and Coweta county. The southeast section of Peachtree City is now in GA 74, making your new representative Karen Mathiak.
I understand how family, work, school, and other life events place demands on our time and keeping up with all the changes in your government representation is challenging.
But, I encourage you to do a little bit of research so that on election day you won’t be surprised with your choices on the ballot. Staring at names on the screen that you don’t recognize as “your candidates” is NOT a good thing. And you cannot pull out your cellphone to do research … cellphone use is not permitted while voting or in the polling site.
We should all research our candidates at home and write out a list of your selections on paper. Using the good old fashioned paper “cheat sheet” while voting is permitted, your cellphone is not.
If you are asking yourself, “How do I find out if I’m affected with any voting district changes?”
It’s simple, go to the “My Voter Page” at the Secretary of State’s website, mvp.sos.ga.gov, and enter your personal information. You will find all of the voting precincts/districts in which your home is located.
Here you can print out your precinct card with all your voting district information. You don’t need it to vote, but it is helpful to have it to research candidates. You can also print a sample ballot for the next election when that becomes available.
Congressional district lines were redrawn and some of the Fayette school board and county commission district lines have also been redrawn in the northeast area of Fayette County. The Georgia Senate district lines in Fayette and Coweta counties did not change.
If you moved since you last voted and have not registered your new address, you may do so at this web site. This is very important because Georgia SB202 makes it illegal for you to vote in any precinct but the one you are living in at the time of the election. Your precinct card will also include your polling place.
When voting early absentee, you can vote at any of the early voting locations, but on election day you must physically go to the correct poll to vote. If you show up at the wrong precinct polling location prior to 5 p.m. you will be instructed to go to your correct precinct. After 5 p.m., if it is determined your correct poll is too far away for you to get there before 7 p.m. you will be offered a provisional ballot to vote.
But that will restrict the races in which you will be to vote because the ballot available there may not be in the same house district or school board district. You should vote in your correct precinct.
And there is yet another surprise for Peachtree City residents. You will be voting on a second separate Ballot Marking Device (BMD) for a District 3 City Council person to finish the four-year term.
The Peachtree City Mayor and Council had an opportunity to select a separate “security paper ballot” that would be handed to you to complete just for this race. But they chose to make you vote electronically for this race on a second BMD set up just for this vote.
After you vote in the general election on a BMD and print out your ballot, you will go to that second BMD for the city council race to print a ballot and take both ballots to the scanner.
In the interest of election integrity, Councilman Frank Destadio proposed the Council seat ballot be done on a separate security paper ballot. That would have simply needed you to fill in the “bubble dot” for your candidate and be done.
And the security paper ballot could be produced, voted, and hand counted at a fraction of the cost of the electronic ballot they chose.
Instead of choosing the security paper, inexpensive option, they chose to pay $48,000 for the November 8 election and another $40,000 for the run-off, which is inevitable.
Surprise again! Oh, wait, it’s not a surprise that they chose the most expensive option … it’s not their money, it’s your tax dollars!
If you live in Peachtree City make sure to vote go to the second Ballot Marking Device to vote that second ballot for the City Council seat.
And please do a little research before you go to your polling location. Save yourself from being surprised and frustrated when you vote.
This is one of the few places that a paper cheat sheet is permitted, so take advantage of it.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Suzanne Brown is retired after 21 years in federal law enforcement, has a BS from Cornell and an MS from Colorado State, and has lived in Peachtree City for 3 years. She often speaks at local government meetings during public comment time, pointing out various laws and regulations that need to be followed to preserve our communities, and in support of a patriotic agenda.]