On Tuesday, September 24, the Bibb County of Board of Elections agreed to hold early voting on October 5 for the special election runoff which includes the Macon-Bibb mayor's race along with four Macon-Bibb Commission contests.
Thousands of early votes via absentee or advance voting on September 17 helped to push the mayoral race and some of the commission races into an October 15 runoff.
Despite thousands of early votes, it constituted a small percentage of the total votes. However, those votes votes did have an impact when all the counting was over on September 17.
Voter turnout in Bibb County was below forty percent which meant tens of thousands of registered voters in Macon-Bibb stayed home.
Macon-Bibb voters will receive another chance to make their voice heard in a few weeks.
Macon Mayor Robert Reichert received more than 17,000 votes on September 17 and former Mayor C. Jack Ellis had approximately 11,000 votes.
Reichert and Ellis finished first and second respectively in a seven-man race. Sam Hart, the chairman of the Bibb County Commission, had come in a distant third with more than 4,000 votes.
Reichert's strong support in predominately Republican precincts such as HOWARD and RUTLAND along with low turnout in the African-American community has provided an opening for the conservative Democrat to win.
Ellis won more precincts on September 17 --22 to 18-- however low voter turnout in EAST MACON, GODFREY and some of the VINEVILLE precincts had an impact.
There are approximately 90,000 registered voters in Bibb County, but less than 40,000 cast a ballot.
Bibb County, who voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, will decide who will serve as mayor of the new Macon-Bibb County consolidated government.
The following are some of the Macon-Bbb Commission contests which are in a runoff :
District 2 race is between Henry Ficklin and Larry Schlesinger. Ficklin won four of his six precincts, but large conservative turnout in EAST MACON 4 and RUTLAND 2 forced a runoff.
District 4 has Councilwoman Beverly Olson against Mallory Jones-- a pair of Republicans
District 6 has Councilman Ed DeFore against Adah Roberts who surpassed Robert Abbott when absentee and early votes were counted.
District 8 has Councilmen Charles Jones and Virgil Watkins, who the youngest member of the Macon City Council.
On Thursday, June 27, the Bibb County Board of Elections overruled an earlier decision by the Bibb County Board of Commissioners to have the first election of the new consolidated Macon-Bibb government in November and opted to hold Macon-Bibb elections on September 17.
In a 3-1 decision, the designated 'independent' member of the Bibb County Board of Elections, Barbara Clowers and the former chairman of the County Democratic Party-- Steve Allen-- were the deciding votes and sided with consolidation proponents and Republicans who wanted to have the non-partisan election as soon as possible -- prior to November.
The Bibb County Board of Elections consists of five members-- two members chosen by the Democratic Party, two members chosen by the Republican Party and one member chosen by the Bibb County Commission.