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Low turnout expected for Aug. 5 runoff
Early voting starts this week
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What if you held an election and nobody came?

Though only about 5,000 to 6,000 people are expected to show up, early voting will take place this week at the Hall County elections office for the Aug. 5 runoff that features just two races.

And if you thought the turnout for the July 15 primary was dismal at just 14 percent in Hall County — or just 10,543 voters — the turnout for the runoff is expected to be about half that.

Charlotte Sosebee-Hunter, Hall County’s interim elections director, said she expects only about 7 to 9 percent of Hall County’s 73,955 registered voters. But she’ll plan for just a little less than the primary turnout both throughout this week’s early voting period and on Aug. 5 for the election.

The Hall County elections office at 2285 Browns Bridge Road will be set up for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Only about 1,200 cast ballots during the early voting period the week prior to the July 15 primary.

One race each will appear on the Republican and Democratic ballots in Hall County. The Democratic ballot will feature the runoff between Vernon Jones and Jim Martin, both seeking to oppose U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the November general election. The statewide race means that polls will be open on Aug. 5 in every one of Georgia’s 159 counties, even if there are no local races to be decided in a runoff.

In Hall County, the Republican ballot will feature a local runoff between Charles Baker and Jennifer Gibbs for clerk of court.

Sosebee-Hunter said those who voted in the July 15 primary must choose the same party’s ballot for the primary; in other words, no party-switching. She added that those who did not vote on July 15 can vote in the runoff — as long as they are registered to vote — and can pick either ballot. Sosebee-Hunter said there usually are a few people who didn’t vote in an election who will cast ballots in the subsequent runoff.

All of Hall County’s 39 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 5 for the primary. Sosebee-Hunter said due to an expected lower turnout there will be fewer staff members on hand and fewer touch-screen voting machines will be set up.

Sosebee-Hunter reminds voters that they still will be required to show a proper photo ID before voting.

There are a limited number of races which ended up in a runoff in nearby counties, including the race for state Senate District 50 between Jim Butterworth and Nancy Schaefer. The Piedmont District Attorney race also ended up in a runoff between Rick Bridgeman and Donna Sikes.

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