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Voters don't seem all that excited

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

July 15, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - It's primary election day, and voter turnout in Dougherty County is much lower than anticipated.

Just yesterday election officials were hoping at least 60% of voter would cast a ballot, but by midday those hopes were dashed. There's still plenty of time however with two hours before the polls close and after work is usually a busy time at polling locations.

One thing was for certain, there were plenty of supporters out encouraging people to vote.

In Dougherty County across from the polls at West Town Elementary School the street was lined with supporters. It was the same situation along Highway 19 in Lee County where Sheriff's candidate Reggie Rachals and Commissioner Morris Leverett stood with supporters along the highway reminding driver's to cast a ballot.

Inside the polls however, there were few voters, in fact poll workers say typically in the first hour they have more than 100 voters, this morning it took two hours to reach 100.

"I'd like to think that Albanians are very interested in those candidates that are opposing each other and the positions and I believe they'll turn out," said voter Bobby Johnson.

Despite the reminders and races that included a District Attorney, Commission seats, and Sheriff's races, voters just didn't show up.

Dougherty election officials say they predicted a higher voter turn out because of the numbers they say during early voting. Last week more than 2,200 people cast ballots which gave them hope that today's turn out would be better than the state's average of 30%.

It looked more like a block party than election day along Highway 19 in Lee County. Candidates and their supporters were in front of the Century Road fire Station polls as early as 5:30, waiving and reminding voters on their way to work not to forget to cast a ballot.

"It gets their attention that we're out here and that we mean business and that we want them to vote no matter which way they vote," said Lee County Sheriff's Candidate Reggie Rachals.

It was the same in Dougherty County where polling locations were littered with supporters with last minute messages, the only thing missing seemed to be the voters.

 "I just believe its every citizen's responsibility, a civic responsibility," said Johnson.

With hotly contested races in both counties, voters who did cast a ballot say there wasn't one particular race that brought them to the polls. "All of them are important," said Johnson.

Important because in many cases the ballots cast today will ultimately decide who will hold the post at the end of the year.

"A lot of local races I feel they needed my vote and I hope it does count,"  said voter Bob Hoffman.

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