For many, Tuesday’s election can’t get here fast enough.
This election 21,624 citizens of Pulaski County are registered to vote in Tuesday’s General and Special Elections.
For those who haven’t cast absentee ballots, the polls open Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. as usual and close at 7 p.m.
If absentee voting is any indication, this election’s turnout might be high.
According to Registrar Kathy Webb, 584 people had voted absentee by Thursday afternoon. Four years ago, she noted, the absentee total was 302.
This year, Pulaski County voters will join with voters all across the Commonwealth in selecting a governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Democrat Ralph Northam, the sitting Lt. Governor, is being opposed in his bid to be Governor by Republican Ed Gillespie and Libertarian Cliff Hyra.
Northam has been seen by most political observers as the favorite to win Tuesday, but Gillespie – who nearly knocked off U.S. Senator Mark Warner three years ago – has closed the gap in recent weeks and the race is now viewed by many as a toss-up.
Republican Jill Vogel is seeking election as Lt. Governor and is opposed by Democrat Justin Fairfax.
Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat is seeking re-election to the job he now holds and is opposed by Republican John Adams.
Most of Pulaski County will vote as part of the 7th House District and choose between incumbent Republican Nick Rush and Democratic challenger Flo Ketner.
However, voters in the Belspring Precinct and part of the New River Precinct will vote as part of the 12th House District. They will choose between incumbent Republican Joseph Yost or his Democratic challenger, former WDBJ-7 news anchor Chris Hurst.
In most years in which a governor’s race is on the ballot, that is the dominant contest. Not so this year, however.
Pulaski County voters on Tuesday will decide two of the most bitter local contests anyone in these parts can remember.
Tuesday’s balloting will decide whether or not Pulaski County will finance, through General Obligation Bonds, the construction of a new, consolidated middle school at a cost of $47 million.
If approved, school and county officials promise work will begin quickly on a new middle school proposed to be built on property along Route 11 between Pulaski and Dublin, opposite the Cougar Express convenience store.
The new school – if approved – will replace both Pulaski and Dublin middle schools.
Proponents of the school proposal believe the two current middle schools are too old and outdated to provide students today the quality education they need and deserve. They argue renovating the two schools would cost nearly as much as construction of a new, modern middle school.
Opponents of the bond referendum argue many residents in Pulaski County cannot afford to pay higher real estate taxes to pay for the new school. County officials say real estate taxes would have to be raised by between 9 and 13 cents per $100 of assessed value to re-pay the $47 million needed to build the school.
And finally, a Special Election will be held Tuesday to elect a new sheriff from among four candidates.
Tuesday’s winner will serve the last two years of the final four-year term of former Sheriff Jim Davis. Davis retired June 30.
Upon Davis’ retirement, the job of sheriff went to newly-promoted Major Mike Worrell who has served as sheriff since July 1.
Worrell, a Democrat is opposed by three current and former law officers. Mike Honaker, a Republican; and independents Brian Wade and Norman “Buck” Dowdy II.
Honaker is a former First Sergeant of the Virginia State Police who commanded the Area Office serving Pulaski and Giles counties. Honaker retired from that position this past summer and launched his bid for sheriff.
Wade is a former Captain of Criminal Investigations for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, who retired prior to launching his bid to be the next sheriff.
Dowdy is currently a sergeant with the Dublin Police Department and is second in command of the department.
Unlike other elections, the winner of Tuesday’s Special Election for sheriff will take office almost immediately. Tuesday’s vote will be certified by the Pulaski County Electoral Board on Wednesday, with the winner of the election taking over as sheriff afterwards.
Voters in Pulaski County will cast their votes using paper ballots on Election Day. Citizens registered to vote are reminded to bring their photo IDs to the polls with them on Tuesday.
Voters will cast ballots in 12 precincts in Pulaski County at the following locations:
Belspring at Belspring United Methodist Church
New River at Riverlawn Elementary School
West Cloyd at New River Valley Fairgrounds
Draper at Draper Fire Department
South Pulaski at Central Gym
Newbern at Dublin Lions Club
Dublin at Dublin Lions Club
Hiwassee at Hiwassee Fire Department
Snowville at Snowville Elementary School
Massie at Central Gym
Walker at New River Valley Fairgrounds
Robinson at Central Gym