Today, voters in Dalton and Varnell head to the polls to help shape the future of their communities. There are three contested races in Dalton, and one in Varnell.
The contested races are:
• Dalton City Council Ward 2: Incumbent Annalee Harlan and Rodney Craig Miller.
• Dalton City Council Ward 4: Incumbent Gary Crews and Steve Farrow.
• Dalton Board of Education: Incumbent Palmer Griffin and Manuel Meza.
• Varnell mayor: Incumbent Tom Dickson and former mayor Anthony Hulsey.
Voters in Varnell will also vote on a referendum on whether to allow the package sale of distilled spirits.
We appreciate the eight men and women who have offered themselves for public service. Being an elected official is sometimes a thankless job. Criticism comes in droves while pats on the back are usually few and far between.
Too often in Whitfield and Murray counties there are many uncontested races for positions on the city council, county commission or school board. Voters deserve a choice of candidates, while candidates must be questioned on their views in public forums and the media. When a position in uncontested, that person skates into office without being made to defend their platform. Competing ideas often lead to healthy dialogue and ideas, which can benefit the community.
We hope you were able to read our profiles on all eight candidates who are on today's ballot. If you missed any of the stories, you can read them on our website at www.dailycitizen.news.
As we mentioned in our front page story on today's election, turnout for early voting was light in both cities -- and that's being generous. Only 726 people voted in the city of Dalton elections and a scant nine voters in Varnell, Whitfield County Chief Registrar Mary Hammontree said. Dalton has 15,892 registered voters, and Varnell has 1,435 registered voters.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., giving you 12 full hours -- a half a day -- to cast your vote. We urge you to head to your precinct and vote.
This is your community. You can help determine its future by voting.