While most are focusing on the national scene the week before the general election, there are two local municipal elections facing voters in Danielsville and Hull.
Danielsville council member Janice Merk will face former council member Stanley Watson for her seat on Nov 4.
In Hull, former council member and mayor pro tem Paul Elkins, 71, faces newcomer Toney Ganey, 60, a resident of Hidden Falls subdivision on Glenn Carrie Road. Ganey moved to Hull two years ago from Valdosta.
Elkins resigned his post last month to qualify for the mayor’s seat after Mayor Rebecca Hutchins resigned.
Elkins, a five-year veteran of the council, says it’s great to see more interest in city government. The council has long struggled to find willing citizens to fill vacated council seats, and it’s been nearly a decade since there was a contested race for mayor.
For his part, Ganey said if elected he plans to be very pro-active in getting grants and other funding for the town and feels his career as a businessman will assist him in those efforts.
Advanced voting for the mayor’s seat has been going on several evenings a week at the Hull Civic Club since Oct. 15. The last advance voting period is between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30.
Voting for mayor will continue at the civic club during the general election on Nov. 4.
Ganey called the Journal on Monday to express some concern about how the paper ballots for advance voting in Hull are being secured.
He noted that the box in which he placed his own early ballot last week was unlocked and open.
“That bothers me,” he said. “The box should be secure to make sure all votes are counted.” Ganey was concerned enough to check with the county registrar’s office in Danielsville and to call the Secretary of State’s office in Atlanta about the matter.
City clerk and elections superintendent Sandra Pou, whom Ganey had not contacted, said Tuesday that the election code simply states that the ballots must be “secured.” She explained that each voter who comes into the polling place is identified before being issued a paper ballot. After making their selection, the voter then places the ballot in a white envelope and seals it before placing it in a larger yellow envelope and also sealing that one. Poll workers are instructed to count the number of voters, count the ballot stubs and count the number of ballots before closing out advanced voting each evening, Pou added.
She said she had contacted Ganey Monday after hearing of his concerns and explained the process to him, but she intends to instruct poll workers to keep the box locked during the remaining advanced voting period.
The box will not be opened to tally the votes until 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, 30 minutes after polls close. At that time the votes will once again be verified. As of Tuesday, 13 people had voted early for mayor, Pou said.