in Lolita Huckaby by


HOW to vote almost as controversial as WHO to vote for

In case you’ve somehow missed it, in roughly eight weeks, American voters are supposed to cast a ballot for a variety of political offices, from the White House to county coroner.

Unless you happen to live “off the grid” you may be bombarded by mailings, post cards, yard signs and telephone calls asking for your support. But maybe more important is HOW you’re going to vote.

We have options … we can go to our polling places on Nov. 3 and take our chances with the VIRUS … or we can send in an application for an absentee ballot, get it, fill it out and stick it back in the mail.

If you’re older than 65, infirm, or going to be away from your home precinct on Election Day, you can vote by going to the election offices in Bluffton or in Beaufort on John Galt road near Lowe’s.

The state Legislature opened the regulations for voting in the election offices during the Spring GOP primary. Anyone could cast a vote up to a month early. And a lot of folks are hoping that provision will be available again.

The Legislators are going back into session in September to take another look at the state budget AND consider a request from the Election Commission to open up early voting. The Commission has pointed out absentee voting in the statewide spring primaries increased to 191,000 when the restrictions were lessened. They estimate, using the same ratio of increases, 1.6 million absentee votes could be cast this during the general election, meaning those voters wouldn’t have to stand in lines on Election Day.

The Commission has also asked the Legislature to approve drop boxes for returning absentee ballots as an alternative to the Post Office.

The Commission is NOT asking the Legislature to approve a blanket mailing of absentee ballot requests or for extra time to count the ballots AFTER Election Day, as some states are doing. (Of course, that’s not saying some legislators might try to introduce those provisions which would lead to additional debate and the chance that nothing will get done.)

Nobody can call this election dull.

Take another look at that local ballot

BEAUFORT – The papers have been filed and deadlines met for the upcoming Beaufort City elections and we’ve got us a mayoral race as well as City Council contests. Stephen Murray and Mike Sutton are running to replace Billy Keyserling in the mayor’s office; Mike McFee, Neil Lipsitz, Mitch Mitchell, Scott Gibbs, Brantley Wilson and Mary Harvey are running for two city council seats.

Nan Sutton opted not to seek re-election and yes … we still hear Eric Longo’s name as a write-in.

On our state ballots, those who live in S.C. House of Representatives district 124 will see a race between incumbent Shannon Erickson, a Republican, and Barb Nash, a Democrat. And state Senator Tom Davis, a Republican, has Democratic opposition from Nathan Campbell for his District 46 seat.

Road improvements – not on the ballot but maybe they should be

LADY’S ISLAND – While all eyes have been on Whitehall this month and the transportation plan for that important piece of land, it seems the County is making some progress on the nine Lady’s Island road projects included in the 2018 one-cent transportation sales tax.

The county Public Facilities Committee last week approved a contract with APAC-Atlantic of Savannah for construction of the expanded right turn lane from Sam’s Point Road to the Sea Island Parkway, what’s become known as the “Publix intersection.”

The committee also recommended hiring of the J. Bragg Engineering Consulting firm of Bluffton to oversee design and management of the other eight projects including:

• Hazel Farm Road and Gay Drive

• New Lady’s Island Middle School Access

• Sunset Boulevard and Miller Drive West

• Beaufort High School Access Realignment

• U.S. 21 Business, U.S. 21, and S.C. 802 Mainline Improvements

• Meadowbrook Drive Extension

• Mayfair Court Extension

• U.S. 21 Airport Area and Frontage Road

Unfortunately, the 27-year-old county transportation engineer in charge of the project, Deja

Jackson who was doing a great job moving forward, died unexpectedly last week after making the presentation to the Committee.

Lolita Huckaby Watson is a community volunteer, I-95 and U.S. 17 voyager and works for an online news service covering local government. She is a former reporter/editorial assistant/columnist with The Beaufort Gazette, The Savannah Morning News, Bluffton Today and Beaufort Today. She can be reached at bftbay@gmail.com.