However, the presidential vote of 60,056 represented a 17 percent increase over the previous presidential election in 2004. Of that increase, Republicans gained only 14 percent, compared with the Democratic gain of 37 percent. Libertarians, with former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, a familiar Georgia name on their ticket, saw an increase of 41 percent.
President-elect Barack Obama carried only one precinct in Hall County, the predominately black Gainesville II precinct, receiving 94 percent of the votes cast Tuesday. In the U.S. Senate race, Jim Martin also had his only precinct win at Gainesville II, carrying 89 percent.
The majority of voters cast either traditional or early absentee ballots. Included in their number were provisional ballots, which must be reviewed before the results are certified.
Voting was up in metro Atlanta, but less so in other parts of the state. DeKalb County’s 321,000 tally in the presidential race was a 16 percent increase from the 2004 race. Cobb County saw its turnout jump 12 percent, and Fulton County had a slighter increase. Fulton County still is tallying its votes.
The results for the presidential and Senate races statewide mirrored each other, with Democrats carrying the urban counties in Georgia, including Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton.
But an interesting change was in other suburban counties, including Douglas, Rockdale and Newton, where both Obama and Martin were the top vote getters.
In 2004, the three counties went heavily for President Bush in his re-election bid.
Martin and Obama both ran well in Georgia’s other urban counties and smaller, predominately black counties surrounding the cities of Albany, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah, as well as the small counties along a line from Albany to Macon to Augusta.
While the number of voters increased, the percentage of voters decreased slightly.
Long lines during the state’s six weeks of advance voting prompted record turnout forecasts of as much as 80 percent, but that wasn’t the case.
The Secretary of State’s office said turnout hovered at about 66.8 percent, a slight increase from 66.3 percent during the presidential election in 2004. Among active voters — defined mostly as newly registered or those who voted in the last two federal elections — dropped from 77.3 percent during 2004 to 74.1 percent this year.
A spokesman for Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel’s stressed that an undetermined number of ballots across the state still were being tallied and it was too early to speculate on why there was lower turnout than expected.
University of Georgia political science professor Charles Bullock presumed that registered voters who didn’t cast ballots were likely either young, minorities or first-time voters.
"I’d suspect that registered voters who didn’t show up would be the same kinds of voters who didn’t vote in the past," Bullock said.
The counties in Northeast Georgia continue to be dominated by Republicans. The last remaining state House Democrats in the region, Charles Jenkins of Blairsville and Jeanette Jamieson of Toccoa were defeated by GOP challengers in Tuesday’s election.