2010-08-11 / Front Page

Turnout terrible for runoff election

By Elizabeth Billips lizbillips@yahoo.com

Poll workers had lots of time to twiddle their thumbs.

At most of Burke County’s 15 voting precincts, Tuesday was spent waiting for voters who never came.

With only one Democratic race on Tuesday’s runoff ballot, Burke County election officials expected the 16.89 percent turnout for the July primary to plummet even lower.

Last week’s absentee voting was a good indication. Nearly 70 voted in the July primary, but only 27 cast ballots in the runoff.

Despite low projections for Burke County and the rest of Georgia, 62 poll workers spent the day at the county’s various polling locations – the minimum required by state law.

By 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the polls in North Waynesboro, one of Burke’s largest precincts, had only seen 70 of its 2,249 registered voters.

“Very, very slim,” poll worker Dale Ward said.

According to rough estimates, the majority of Burke County voters who did turn out were Republicans.

With five races including a tight one between gubernatorial hopefuls Nathan Deal and Karen Handel, Republican voters were forecast to heavily outnumber the Democrats, whose only choice was between Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield for Secretary of State.

Tuesday’s winners will move on the Nov. 2 General Election, which will also include three local Board of Education races and a chance for voters in weigh in on the proposed Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).

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