Runoffs draw few voters, even fewer Democrats

Published 11:51 am Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fay Poole sits in a metal folding chair inside the National Guard Armory, one of the county’s more frequented polling places. The building is empty, except for poll workers.

Poll workers like Poole across the county are seeing low turnouts for the runoff election, as was predicted by most officials across the state.

“We don’t have that many coming out, but it isn’t as slow as we though it would be,” Poole says. “We will see how it goes when midday gets here. In the heat of the afternoon, it might be real slow.”

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Voters seem to be coming out all for the same race-that between Bradley Byrne and David Bentley. Poole’s table, as of 9:45 a.m., had no democratic votes cast.

“It’s a lot slower than last election,” Lori Milton says, who is sitting across the table from Poole.

The governor race, Poole says, should attract more voters before the day is done.

“I think there is a lot of interest in how this comes out, and I think there will be more people coming out to vote for governor,” Poole says.

Across town, at the Department of Health, the picture is the same, though a few voters were actually at work casting their ballots.

Maxine Rogers, who has volunteered as a poll worker for many previous elections, says it’s “slow, but steady.”

“They are voting in the governors race, those that are coming out,” Rogers says. “It’s naturally going to be lighter, because it’s a runoff. I think it’s about par for the course for being a runoff.”

Rogers says they still expect more voters to come later in the day.

“We had a rush when we open 9 a.m. or 10 a.m., then it slows down till 3 p.m.,” Rogers says. “Starting at 3 p.m., I think we will have another flurry of voters.”

If the turnout doesn’t pick up, it won’t change the eventual outcome, as one poll worker pointed out.

“If it doesn’t pick up, we are still going to have a winner,” Bennie Payne said.