Election Day in Statesboro

Poll Site: Kiwanis Fairgrounds.Address: 16942 Hwy 67 South.Directions: Take Hwy 67 to the Fairgrounds.

Tandra Smith

Many Georgia Southern University students will be heading to their local polling places next week to cast their vote for the next governor of Georgia, Secretary of State, state senator and more.

Turnout on Nov. 6 is unlikely to reach the numbers it did two years ago during the presidential elections, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any important offices and constitutional amendments to vote for this time around.

The governor’s race

A huge draw to the polls for many will be the race for governor. Brian Kemp, Republican gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Ted Metz, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate, are all on the ballot in Georgia this year.

Kemp’s campaign is centered around four key points aimed at putting Georgians first, according to his campaign website. Those points include:

  • Make Georgia #1 for small business
  • Reform state government
  • Strengthen rural Georgia
  • Put Georgia first

His policies range from capping state spending and supporting farmers, agri-business and small-town startups to stopping sanctuary cities and lowering health care premiums and prescription drug costs, according to the Issue sections of his campaign website.

Kemp recently held a fundraising event in Statesboro on Oct. 22 alongside Congressman Rick Allen.

Abrams has also stopped in Statesboro and more specifically, on GS’ campus. Abrams spoke on campus inside of the Carroll Building on Oct. 17 during a rally hosted by the Young Democrats of GS.

During the rally, Abrams spoke about education, student loan debt and Medicaid expansion, among other topics. Her campaign website expands upon her rally points and includes many more points she did not touch upon during her speech at GS.

According to her campaign website, Abrams wishes to also:

  • Ensure Georgia seniors and Georgians with disabilities have the support they need to thrive and live with dignity
  • Support community and hospital programs to stop the cycle of gun violence
  • Strengthen housing opportunities for citizens re-entering society from incarceration
  • Make voter registration easy and convenient through expanded online registration, automatic voter registration, and same-day voter registration

Finally, Metz’s campaign is about a wide variety of issues, ranging from education and health care to the death penalty and criminal justice reform

According to Metz’s website, his platform includes:

  • Getting the government out of education and advocate for less influence from the federal government
  • Developing a statewide monorail system
  • Supporting all businesses from Main Street to Wall Street
  • Legalizing Industrial hemp for use in rope, fabric, plastics, biodiesel, Hempoline, etc.
  • Enforce the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act and the Robinson-Patman Act to reduce health care costs

The 12th District Congressional race

Another big race on the ballot this election is the race for the 12th District Congressional seat, currently held by Republican Congressman Rick Allen. Challenging Allen for the seat is Democrat Francys Johnson.

Allen is the current incumbent and has three key issues he calls important to his work in Congress, according to his website: agriculture, the economy and jobs and education.

Allen is currently on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Education and Workforce Committee.

Johnson has more than 15 different values listed on his website that he believes in. Below is a short list of his values, with the full list being available on his website underneath the values tab:

  • Equal Pay: I believe all my neighbors must be paid an equal wage for equal work
  • Reproductive Rights: I will defend my neighbors’ right to choose
  • Healthcare: I believe all of us have the right to high quality and affordable health care
  • Fair Wages: I believe in collective bargaining and organized labor. Everyone deserves an honest wage for honest work, and I will fight to raise the minimum wage to a livable wage
  • Jobs: I believe in the dignity of work. Every day, I will work to create more opportunities for good jobs for my neighbors

Allen and Johnson debated at Ogeechee Technical College on Oct. 24, where both candidates had the opportunity to explain their own values and what they would do for District 12 if elected.

The constitutional amendments

Brett Curry, political science professor at GS, says that the number of amendments that land on the ballot each election year often varies.

“You basically have things that are referred out as resolutions out of the state legislature,” Curry said. “Whether there is X number this time or X number that time, is a function of what is produced by the legislature.”

There are five constitutional amendments on this year’s ballot ranging from wildlife protection to rights for crime victims.

The first amendment, the Portion of Revenue from Outdoor Recreation Equipment Sales Tax Dedicated to Land Conservation Fund Amendment, focuses on the establishment of the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Trust Fund.

If passed, the amendment would allocate up to 80 percent sales tax on sporting goods to a create a fund that would protect water quality, wildlife habitat and parks in Georgia, according to the bill.

Amendment two is focused on the state judiciary. The amendment proposes the creation of a statewide business court, as well as the creation of procedures and rules for the court.

Amendment three, the Forest Land Conservation and Timberland Properties Amendment, would change the way the Georgia government currently values forest land conservation use property.

Instead of using the system that was created in 2008, the amendment would create a new system that would allow the state legislature to pass a law that would allow them to keep up to five percent of the land’s value.

Amendment four is arguably the most well-known of the five amendments this year. The Marsy’s Law Crime Victim Rights Amendment proposes to give victims of crime-specific added rights including:

  • The right to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect
  • The right to notice of all proceedings involving the alleged criminal
  • The right to be heard at any proceedings involving that release, plea or sentencing of the accused
  • The right to be informed of their rights

According to Ballotpedia, there are already five states in the country that currently have an amendment like this in the books: California, Ohio, Illinois, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The final amendment on this year’s ballot is amendment five, the School Sales Tax Referendums Amendment. The amendment would allow for school districts with a majority of students in the county to levy a sales taxes for educational purposes.

The polling locations

A large majority of GS students will be voting at Pittman Park United Methodist Church, located on 1102 Fair Road because that is where all students staying on campus at Southern and a large majority of off-campus residents vote.

There are other voting locations that students might vote at. By going to https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do, you can input your information to see where you are supposed to vote if you are registered to vote in Bulloch County.

Below are just a few of the voting precincts in Statesboro and Bulloch County:

Sinkhole District

Fair Precinct

Church Precinct