The Aug. 7 Franklin County general election might be nearly a month away, but the early voting period gets underway Friday for those who want to get their civic responsibility out of the way beforehand.
The ballot also includes candidates vying in primary elections for state and federal positions.
The early voting period extends from Friday to Aug. 2, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays at the Election Commission Office, 839 Dinah Shore Blvd., and from 8 a.m. to noon on the respective Saturdays during the early voting period.
Margaret Ottley, Franklin County administrator of elections, said where to go to vote can throw residents off-course.
“Early voting is conducted in our office,” Ottley said. “People can get confused when they vote early.
“If you vote early, it’s in our office. If it’s on Election Day, it’s at the precincts listed on voter registration cards.”
Ottley said voters may want to consider how long the election ballot is and may want to vote early to avoid potentially long lines and delays on Aug. 7.
“Since it’s such a long ballot, it’s going to take awhile to vote,” she said. “We’re encouraging people to vote early so the lines won’t be so long on Election Day.”
Ottley said recently she is optimistic voter turnout will be greater than the 15 percent of registered voters who showed up at the polls in the May 6 county primary election.
“I expect it to be a lot higher,” she said. “Some people don’t want to vote in the primary election, but will in a general election, and there’s a lot of interest in the races.”
In the county elected, a major battle is expected in the county mayor’s race.
Incumbent Democrat Richard Stewart is facing opposition from Republican Bill Green and Independent Burt Brown.
Another much talked about segment to the Aug. 7 election is the race for sheriff.
Incumbent Sheriff Tim Fuller, a Democrat, was unchallenged in the primary as was Mike Foster on the Republican side. Foster is Decherd city administrator and had been sheriff before Fuller had been elected to office.
Voters, for the first time in four years, are deciding who their county commissioners will be.
In District 1, Seat A, incumbent Jean Snead opted not to seek re-election. Instead, her son, Gene F. Snead Jr., an independent, is running against Republican Sally Lightner for the open position.
Incumbent Sue Hill, a Democrat, holding the District 1, Seat B position, is facing opposition from Republican Iris Rudder and Independent John K. (Jack) Bell.
In the District 2, Seat A slot, Lisa Mason is facing no challengers to the position, formerly held by John Page.
Incumbent Democrat Stanley Bean is facing opposition from Republican Carolyn Montoye in the District 2, Seat B race.
James Cantrell had opted not to seek re-election for the District 3, Seat A position he held, and Republican Dave Van Buskirk and Independent Reggie Dotson are vying for the open position.
Incumbent Democrat Scottie Riddle is facing opposition from Republican Dale Shultz for the District 3, Seat B position.
Incumbent Democrat Eddie Clark is being challenged by Republican Caitlyn M. Callaway for the District 4, Seat A position.
Incumbent Democrat Charles “Chuck” Stines is facing opposition from Republican Bruce Shaw for the District 4, Seat B position.
Incumbent Democrat Johnny Hughes remains unchallenged for the District 5, Seat A position he holds.
Democrat Helen F. Stapleton and Independents Daniel C. Ferguson and Art Hanson are vying for the District 5, Seat B position formerly held by Dr. Sherwood Ebey.
Incumbent Democrat Barbara Finney is facing opposition from Republican Jimmy E. Hargrove for the District 6, Seat A position.
Incumbent Independent Doug Goodman is facing opposition from Democrat Jeffrey A. Sons for the District 6, Seat B position.
Democrat David Eldridge Jr. is unchallenged for the District 7, Seat A position he holds.
Angie Fuller, a Democrat, is also unchallenged for her District 7, Seat B position.
Republican Don Cofer, is also unchallenged for his District 8, Seat A position.
Incumbent Republican Tony DeMatteo is being challenged by Democrat Kenneth Dale Amacher for his District 8, Seat B position.
Incumbent Register of Deeds Lydia Curtis Johnson was being challenged in the Democratic primary by James Cantrell, a current county commissioner who opted to run for the different office, in the primary election.
She staved off the threat by a 1,413- to 454-vote margin. With no Independent challengers, her name appears alone on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Road Commission positions are also being decided.
First Road Commissioner Joe David McBee is unchallenged as is Second Road Commissioner Chuck Tipps.
However, incumbent Democrat Bobby R. Clark is being challenged by Independent Joe Charles E. Green for the third road commissioner position.
Wade Hill, a Democrat, and John Ballard, an Independent, are vying for the fourth road commissioner’s position, formerly held by Clyde Hill Sr., who recently passed away. His son, Rodney Hill was filling the vacancy in the interim.
Two races are in the works for school board positions.
Incumbent Betty Jo Drummond, an Independent, is being challenged by Independent Gary Hanger for the District 7 position.
Chris McDonough opted not to seek re-election for his District 5 seat, and Independents Lisa Rung and Adam Tucker are vying for the open slot.
The election also has several constable races.
Incumbent Democrat Jim Hill is being challenged by Republican Ben Smith for the District 1 position.
No candidates have filed for the District 2 constable position, and the vacancy will be fi lled later through a County Commission appointment.
Incumbent Democrat Kenneth Bishop is being challenged by Independent Troy Gamble for the District 3 position.
Charles Keller, a Republican, is unchallenged for the District 4 slot.
Democrat Sandy K. Gilliam faces no opposition for the District 5 position that was held by Marshall Hawkins who has passed away.
In the District 6 race, Incumbent Democrat Rudy McConnell Sr. is being challenged by Independent James E. Coulson.
Incumbent Democrat Don “Peanut” Coulson Jr. is being challenged by Independent Jonathan Sells.
Incumbent Republican Jim Wimley is being challenged by Democrat Mark A. Bassett for District 8 constable.
Unchallenged candidates, who will essentially be elected to their positions because they have no opposition in August, are:
• Democrat Thomas W. “Rusty” Graham for Circuit Court Judge 12th Judicial District Part I.
• Democrat J. Curtis Smith, Circuit Court judge, 12th Judicial District Part II.
• Democrat Jeffrey F. Stewart, chancellor, 12th Judicial District.
• Democrat Mike Taylor, District attorney general, 12th Judicial District.
• Democrat Jeff Harmon, public defender, 12th Judicial District.
• Democrat Randy Kelly, county trustee.
• Democrat Thomas C. Faris, General Sessions judge.
• Democrat Robert Baggett, Circuit Court clerk.
• Democrat Phillip Custer, county clerk.
• Independent Christine Hopkins, School Board, District 1.
• Independent Lance Williams, School Board, District 3.