Early voting underway in Georgia

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Early voting got off to a slow start in the CSRA. Georgia voters headed to the polls Tuesday. Turnout was extremely low in Grovetown, where residents are voting for two city council seats. Six people cast ballots Tuesday.

In Richmond County, 91 people turned out to vote on bonds to pay for the new James Brown Arena.

“Typically, when we have elections like this where there’s only one thing on the ballot, turnout tends to be extremely light,” Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections, says. “I think turnout will be 10 percent, possibly less.”

“It’s an arena, but we can have conventions in it,” Cedric Johnson, the chairman of the Coliseum Authority, explains. “We can do basketball. We can do a multitude of different things in that arena. It’s not just for concerts. It’s here for the community for whatever needs we have.”

“There needs to be more expansion so we can bring more business into Augusta,” Christina Maria Munoz, a voter, says. “It brings more money and jobs in. It helps the economy in itself.”

The arena will come at a price. If approved, Richmond County will use $235 million in bonds to pay for it. But, residents will cover that cost with higher taxes. For example, owners of a $100,000 home could expect to pay about $97 in additional taxes a year.

“We have not looked long term,” Johnson says. “We have not looked at trying to have things not just better for us but for generations to come. That’s why this arena is so important.”

Early voting is underway through October 29. Election day is November 2.

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