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Bibb elections officials explain what you need to know about runoffs

Many Central Georgians have their sights on the November general election, but Bibb elections officials say, 'Not so fast.'

MACON, Ga. — After Tuesday's primary election, it seems logical to move on to the November general election, but Macon-Bibb elections officials say there's another election first: the runoff.

Most states use a plurality system, where a candidate just needs the biggest share of votes to win. In the Peach State, things are different. Here, a candidate needs 50% plus one vote to win a race. If that doesn't happen, it triggers a runoff. That's when the top two candidates face off again for the seat or nomination.

Mike Kaplan with the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections says it's important people know any registered voter can vote in a runoff.

"If you didn't vote in the primary, you can vote in the runoff," Kaplan explained in a recent board meeting.

He says it's also easier in some cases for people to get an absentee ballot.

"If you marked on your absentee ballot that you were over 65, or disabled, you automatically get a ballot for this election," Kaplan said.

In all other cases, the deadline to request an absentee ballot is June 10. Early voting for the June 21 election is June 13 through 17.

If it seems like a quick turnaround, that's because it is. A new Georgia law, SB 202, means the runoff will happen just four weeks after the primary. Previously, it was a nine week waiting period.

All Bibb polling locations will be open on June 21 for the runoff, but the only early voting location is the board of elections on Pio Nono Avenue.

Bibb voters only have one local race to keep an eye on: the race for water authority chair between Gary Bechtel and Desmond Brown.

In Houston County, the race is on between Mark Ivory and Tim Baggerly for Board of Education District 6.

Hancock County has two races. One for board of education chair, between Annie Ingram and Dennis Brown. The other is for district 3 board of education, between Mary Thomas-Jackson and Richard Thomas.

Telfair County's District 6 Board of Education seat is also up for a runoff between Elton Harris and Christopher Adams.

In Washington County, District 2 County Commission and School Board District 2 will go to a runoff. The candidates for commission are Edward Burten and Bobby Jackson. The school board candidates are Kristi Jenkins and Zach Webb.

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