Albany officials call voter turnout 'heavy' - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany officials call voter turnout 'heavy'

By Len Kiese - bio | email

November 4, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Thousands of people in Dougherty County are exercising their right to vote on this Election Tuesday. Poll workers have been busy at 28 precincts throughout the day.

More than 52,000 people are registered to vote in Dougherty County, the highest number ever. It seems a good number of them are voting for the first time.

At Albany State University, students wait in long lines to vote, many of them for the first time.

That first venture into voting was repeated throughout Dougherty County today. "I was excited to come and vote," said Selita Stanton, who just turned 18.

It's her first time voting. She says she's young, but not too young to have an interest in politics. "Young people are very concerned about what's been going on," said Stanton.

That sentiment has many young folks heading to the polls.  "To vote," said Shelly Harbuck, also a first-time young voter.

She and Stanton join the thousands of people keeping Dougherty County poll workers busy. "It's been much more challenging, been a lot more people to come in," said West Town Elementary Poll Manager Yvette Fields.

At Westtown Elementary, 400 people voted in a two-hour time span.  "We had a line that went out the building and down the wall into the yard," said Fields.

At the Beattie Road precinct, about 900 people voted by mid-afternoon.

And around the same time at the Palmyra United Methodist Church precinct, more than 500 people voted.

 "It's very exciting. I'm glad that everybody's coming out and exercising their right to vote," said Fields.

It's a right that some say shouldn't be taken for granted, no matter the age. "A lot of people feel if you want to make a change, you have to participate," said Stanton.

That participation earns them a peach sticker. "I'm going to wear it all day long," said Harbuck.

And a sense of pride for taking that first step to the polls.

We checked to see if there were any problems at the polls and officials tell us things have been smooth.

The only small problem they had was an express poll machine having to be replaced at the Alice Coachman precinct, and that slowed the line down just a little bit.

Poll managers say they're seeing good turnout, but many of the registered voters in their precinct took advantage of early voting.

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