Does Georgia's Smallest County Have the Largest Number of Different Ballots?

Athens Clarke County voters can have 27 different ballots in Tuesday's election.

Depending on where they live, voters in Athens-Clarke County will face one of 27 different ballots on Nov. 6.

Athens-Clarke County added a new congressional district and a new state Senate district in the 2012 redistricting, according to Gail Schrader, Supervisor of Elections and Voter Registration for Athens-Clarke County. 

“All these of these changes add up to more ballot possibilities for the voters,” Schrader said.  Despite confusion surrounding the many combinations and 2012 district changes, Athens voters and election staff are positive about voter turnout.

For this election, the 27 different ballot styles are primarily due to the different combinations of Congressional districts, state house districts, and state senate districts that occur throughout Athens-Clarke County. A new ballot style is needed for each district combination.

For the July election, there were 189 different ballot styles because the district combinations also took into account the different commission and school board districts and because a Republican, Democratic, and non-partisan ballot was needed for each district combo.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, shoppers outside Kroger on Alps Road said they found the voting districts confusing, but many still plan to go the polls.

Teresa Carter, who is retired after 25 years as a custodian for the University of Georgia, said keeping up with the different districts and candidates is confusing. Carter said the candidates often don’t get out and talk to the voters, which makes it hard to know who you’re voting for. 

“I do try to get out and vote because there’s some things that I don’t agree with,” Carter said.

After the 2012 redistricting, Athens-Clarke County includes portions of two state Senate districts, three state House districts, and two U.S. congressional districts.

The district changes are what concern Stephanie Marr, an editor who owns her own business and has lived in Athens for six years.

“I don’t liked being jerked around, and that’s what it amounts to,” Marr said.  But the changes won’t keep her from the polls.  “I’m going to vote no matter what they do.”

Tom Smith, an insurance broker, is less concerned with the voting districts.  “I’m four years new to Athens, but I just haven’t gotten the local political bug yet,” Smith said.  “I’ve yet to vote in any local elections.”

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