Special Elections: Different counties, different interests - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Elections: Different counties, different interests

Lee County voters are choosing between two people for the open probate judge seat. (Source: WALB) Lee County voters are choosing between two people for the open probate judge seat. (Source: WALB)
In Terrell County, turnout is on a record pace, and the tax commissioner's race is one of the reasons why. (Source: WALB) In Terrell County, turnout is on a record pace, and the tax commissioner's race is one of the reasons why. (Source: WALB)
Darlene Paul (Source: WALB) Darlene Paul (Source: WALB)
Ellen Harnage (Source: WALB) Ellen Harnage (Source: WALB)
Miles O'Quinn (Source: WALB) Miles O'Quinn (Source: WALB)
LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

Early voting for primary runoffs is underway.

On Wednesday night, WALB zeroed in on two counties with very different situations.

Lee County voters are choosing between two people for the open probate judge seat, but the race didn't drum up excitement at the polls.

Just to the west, in Terrell County, turnout is on a record pace, and the tax commissioner's race is one of the reasons why.

"I have been in the Tax Commission and the Tax Assessor and both work hand in hand," said Darlene Paul, a Terrell Tax Commissioner candidate.

People have shown up in record numbers to pick a new Terrell Tax Commissioner.

"I have brought the Tax Assessors side up to the 21st century. I've gotten online with it. People can sit at home and look up information and that is what I want to do in the Tax Commissioner's office," explained Paul.

Paul said that she has been trying to meet with as many voters as she can face-to-face.

"I know the people here, a lot of them depend on me to help them and help them with problems everyday," said Terrell Tax Commissioner candidate Mary Ellen Harnage.

Harnage has spent more than 17 years in the tax office, doing many of the things she would do as the tax commissioner. But she said that her name ID is low.

"Oh, they know me but not my name, they call me the tag lady, they say the lady with the long ponytail, or that lady with the gray hair," explained Harnage. "So I have had to get my name out there."

In Lee County, Melanie Gerhing and D.A. Investigator Miles O'Quinn are in the runoff for probate judge.

"I have the most experience," said Lee County Probate Judge candidate O'Quinn.

O'Quinn, who also spent 17 years in the Lee Sheriff's Office expects the race will come down to just a few votes.

"I want everyone to come out and vote," explained O'Quinn. "That is what it will come down to. It's people caring enough to come vote."

Melanie Gehring is the deputy clerk for Probate Court and has worked for the retiring Probate Judge for four years.

Gehring said the job requires a strong administrative skill-set and she wants to continue rolling electronic pre-registration for people.

"Web based programs that will help the efficiency of the office as well as help the public pre-register for certain things like with firearms and that nature and so we expect to perhaps go live in August with that," said Gehring.

Early voting is underway and turnout has been low so far in Lee County.

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