Today was the last day for citizens to vote early in the race for Macon mayor, city council, and the special elections. Hundreds of people showed up at the polls to cast their ballots at the Bibb County Board of Elections.
According to Elaine Carr, nearly 5,000 people showed up throughout the week to vote early. She says this was one of the biggest turnouts out for early voting in a city election.
Flanked with numerous local pastors, clergy, and elders from churches of various denominations, mayoral candidate C. Jack Ellis (D), received support for his candidacy.
Ellis said the city must have a strong relationship with local churches, and looks forward to having a faith based community, if elected. Ellis said the city is obligated to support churches, because they are already in the community, helping to make those communities better.
Ellis proposed that churches help the city, by continuing programs like after school care, open gyms, and classroom help. Ellis said that since many churches already have many of those options for kids, there is less need to spend as much on things like city parks and recreation.
Ellis also wants to regulate where liquor stores and pawn shops are located, so they are not in the same neighborhoods as churches.
Ellis Addresses Question of Personal Beliefs
During the conference, Ellis publically announced he is a member of the Baptist Church denomination. While holding the office of mayor, Ellis converted to the Islam faith, and faced many questions and concerns from the public.
After directly asking Ellis if he was a member of the Christian Baptist faith, or the Islamic faith, he responded,
"I'm a Baptist. And I'm a proud one. And this is my pastor. And I'm very proud to have him as my pastor. I have a great deal of respect for all the great religions of the world. I've even studied two or three of them. I went to Vietnam, stayed with the Buddhist monks for some time. So I've studied all the great religions. I'm a Christian. I was born a Christian, I will die a Christian."
When asked a similar question in an interview earlier in the week with 41 NBC, Ellis had said he didn't think his faith should matter when people go to vote, and people shouldn't be bigots when they go to vote.