“It was a steady stream all day,” said Janine Eveler, director of the Cobb County Board of Elections. “There were never any lines. It was a good day but never overly busy.”
Eveler reported that 428 people cast early ballots in Cobb on Monday. The breakdown by party was 342 Republicans, 68 Democrats, and 18 non-partisan voters, she said.
Countywide contests on the ballot include the proposed one-percent sales tax for transportation, known as the TSPLOST; the county chairman’s race; several judges’ races and the clerk of Superior Court contest; and a re-vote on the Sunday alcohol sales countywide. Voters in some parts of the county will also be selecting a county commissioner; state legislators; school board members; and members of Congress, or advancing a candidate from their party to the Nov. 6 general election.
Joe O’Connor, an east Cobb resident who moved to the county in 1972 from Dallas, Texas, had to wait before casting the first ballot in the county when the polls opened at 8 a.m.
“I got there about 20 minutes after 7 a.m.,” he said. “After I voted, all my candidates were winning, for the moment.”
O’Connor said he votes, preferably as soon as possible, because he values the responsibility of voting and considers it his duty.
The retired business owner said he voted for Mike Boyce as county commission chair because he would be a “fresh” new face to the commission. O’Connor said he voted against the TSPLOST and in favor of Sunday alcohol sales.
“Mike Boyce has experience in money management and efficiencies … at this point, he owes no one any favors,” O’Connor said. “The (Cobb Chamber of Commerce) won’t pull his strings like a lot of people in the county.”
In regards to TSPLOST, O’Connor is passionately against it. He also doesn’t believe the sales tax would end after 10 years.
“Every man, woman and child has to pay over $100 each year over the next 10 years,” he said. “There are so many flaws in it it’s unbelievable.”
“The cost doesn’t include the upkeep of the maintenance,” he said. “They need to step back, look it over, revise it and bring it back later. The average person doesn’t know about the SPLOST or what it means.”
Cobb Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa also cast his vote on Monday.
“Ninety percent of the time, I’m an early voter because of my schedule,” he said. “Things change a lot and I don’t want to get down to the wire and not get a chance to vote.”
The 55-year-old superintendent finished off his first full year with the Cobb district June 30. Although he wouldn’t say who he voted for in any race or how he voted for TSPLOST, he did say it’s important for Americans to cast their votes. Earlier in his career, he taught government.
“I taught students that you shouldn’t complain about the government if you don’t exercise your right to vote,” he said.
“The TSPLOST is very important so people need to express their vote on that one, no matter how you feel,” Hinojosa said.
Vincent Barbour, 50, who has lived in Mableton for four years, said he voted in favor of the 1 percent sales tax. Monday was the first time he had ever cast an early ballot.
“We always could do something to help the congestion around here,” he said. “I can pretty much decide when I’m going to drive … so (the road construction) doesn’t necessarily help me, but it’s going to make the economy better. People can get around better, plus it’ll create more jobs.”
Barbour said he also voted in favor of Sunday alcohol sales.
“If we don’t, we’ll lose the revenue to another county. If they can’t get it here, they’ll go somewhere else,” he said.
But James Schaffer, 54, of Kennesaw, voted against the sales tax because the timing is wrong, he said.
“This is not the economic time to add a 1 percent sales tax … maybe in a couple of years they can run it though again and have more support but I don’t support the TSPLOST for that reason,” he said. “If our country was more European and we were used to public transportation or scooters, that’d be one thing but we’re not and we don’t.”
Schaffer declined to say who he was voting for in the county chairman’s race.
Another Cobb resident who opposes TSPLOST is Maryellen Keating. She has lived in Acworth for 13 years.
“I don’t see that it affects Cobb County at all,” she said. “I don’t see any reason to pay for Buckhead. They have enough money down there to pay for themselves.”
“The crux of it is all inside the perimeter. ... They are going to put a new tower at McCollum Field. Well, unless you own a private jet, that’s not going to impact you at all,” she said. “It really doesn’t have any relevance to Cobb County, as far as I can see.”
But Keating was definitely in favor of the Sunday alcohol sales.
“It’s ... inconvenient that you can’t buy it on Sundays,” she said. “I’m fromNew York State and we can. I don’t see any reason to prohibit it, and I think it’ll bring in some taxes to the county. I don’t see it as a big deal.”
Early voting will run through July 27 at the main elections office, 736 Whitlock Ave. in Marietta. Voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and on Saturday, July 21, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Four additional early-voting locations will be open the week before the July 31 primary.
For more information, call (770) 528-2581 or go to www.cobbelections.org.