Turnout for Tuesday runoff barely breaks 5% in Dougherty County

·2 min read

Jun. 22—ALBANY — With three votes cast at the Albany State University precinct and 11 at Turner Elementary School, it's safe to say that turnout for Tuesday's primary runoff elections was not great in Dougherty County.

Even upbeat Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson offered the words "dismal" and "horrible" in her assessment of the 5.18% turnout. Out of 59,666 registered, active voters, 4,818 cast ballots in the runoff contests.

"The turnout was dismal, unfortunately," Nickerson said. "I can't really explain it. Our poll workers did a great job. We're certainly grateful to them.

"My philosophy, my belief, is it is the candidates' responsibility to get voters out there. It's our responsibility to be prepared for every voter to get out and vote."

In Lee County, 12.67 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the election. There, 2,146 voted on Tuesday, with another 570 taking part during the week of early voting and 128 casting absentee ballots by mail.

Lee County had one local contest, a special election for School Board District 5, in which Fran Walls defeated incumbent Phil Franklin, who was appointed earlier this year, by a total of 397 votes to 217.

The local election did not seem to garner significantly more interest for voters overall, Lee County Elections Supervisor Veronica Johnson said. The Red Bone precinct for the local race totaled 516 voters, while there were nearly 500 votes cast in the second-largest precinct located on the west side of the county.

"It was actually a little higher than I predicted," Johnson said of the turnout. "I was hoping we would get 11 percent. I was pleased that the county voters showed an interest in voting. I'm very thankful to the ones who show up each and every election to voice their opinions."

Both elections officials are now looking toward preparing for the November general election.

"There will be a day or two we can take a break or catch our breath or take a day or two of vacation, but it is an election year," Johnson said. "An election is not like a mushroom that pops up overnight on your front lawn. It takes a lot of work to take place."

In Dougherty County, Nickerson said she is in need of poll workers for the November election as well as workers for early or advance voting. The latter will need to be computer-literate to efficiently assist voters in a timely manner.

"We have 26 (voting) locations, and each of those 26 locations is going to need workers," Nickerson said. "We definitely need people to facilitate in this process. It's going to take a team of people to ensure voters receive adequate service."