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Countywide election set for November
Special election surprises officials
Ella Golden
Ella Golden - photo by Courier file photo
Liberty County Chief Registrar Ella Golden had a surprise for members of the Liberty County Board of Elections and Registration when the group met Monday afternoon.
“Let me tell you all a little thing that has happened,” she began. “There’s a county question now that is going to be on the ballot.”
In other words, all of Liberty County will have a chance to vote in a Nov. 6 special election, not just residents in the five municipalities holding city elections this year.
The new countywide ballot question will allow residents to vote yes or no on two separate homestead exemption amendments that would allow homeowners to make minor repairs or renovations without seeing a boost in their tax bills.
House Bill 767 would enable property owners to make improvements to their homes equal to up to five percent of its property value without having their assessment increased, while House Bill 768 would allow the same exemption for school taxes.
Although both bills were approved by the Georgia House and Senate in April and signed by the governor in May, the order to place the question on November’s ballot was not handed down until last week.
According to Golden, had her office been informed sooner there would be a countywide question up for a vote, she would have suggested another special election date to hold the vote.
“If we had known about it we would have suggested (Sept.  18) versus (Nov. 6) because now we have to open up all the county precincts,” she said.
Having to now open all 13 precincts could create a conflict for voters, in particular voters in Hinesville and the Allenhurst/Walthourville split, who may have to travel to two polling sites to cast their ballots, depending on where they are designated to vote in city versus county elections.
In an interview Tuesday, Golden said her office was “keeping voters in mind” and “working as hard we can for them,” to ensure separate polling sites would not be a major inconvenience for residents.
She said despite the short notice, there are enough voting machines and the costs of additional poll workers were covered in the office’s budget.
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