Harris County Chief Registrar talks voter turnout predictions

HARRIS COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL)— Harris County voters are casting their early ballots in Georgia’s Presidential Primary this week.

Harris County Chief Registrar Sherrail Jarrett says she hopes to see voter turnout reach 20% this primary; however, early voting has been lower than anticipated.

“It’s slow. We’ve had probably, I think we’re around 900, a little over 900 now. Of course, we have 29,000 registered voters. So that gives you an idea,” Jarrett said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of absentees by mail requests. And of course, the deadline for that was last Friday.”

Wednesday morning Nikki Haley announced she will be suspending her campaign in the GOP Presidential race. Here’s what Jarrett said when asked if she believes this will impact voter turnout on Tuesday.

“I don’t think so, mainly because we have that county SPLOST on the ballot. I mean, if you look at our Republican ballot list on there, we’ve still got all 11 candidates on there because they haven’t officially withdrawn from Georgia,” Jarrett answered. “So, they’re all still on there. She’ll continue to be on there, but hopefully it won’t impact it too much because the fact that we have that county SPLOST.”

The Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax is a one cent tax that is currently in effect in Harris County. This renewal would be a continuation if the SPLOST for an additional six years from April 1, 2025, to March 31, 2031. The county hopes to raise $27.1 million for various county and city projects. A breakdown of the budget can be found, here.

“SPLOST is something that’s not on your property tax bill. So, anybody that comes through and buys gas, eats at our restaurants, orders online, actually, if you order something online and you live in Harris County, part of that sales tax is what gives us as well,” Jarrett explained.

Early voting continues through Friday, the polls will also be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Three precincts in Harris County are also preparing to start early voting on March 18 for the Special Election of House Seat 139 formerly filled by Richard Smith who passed in January. Regular voting for that race is April 9. This race is only for residents that vote in the Cataula, Ellerslie, and Waverly Hall precincts.

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