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Nearly 70 percent of voters cast ballots
Poll workers at the Whelchel precinct inside Riverbend Baptist Church process voters as they arrive Tuesday afternoon.

Nearly 70 percent of Hall County’s registered voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s general election, falling short of 2008’s voting total.

The Hall County Elections Office reported 59,543 of the county’s 85,079 voters, or 69.99 percent, turned out at Hall’s 35 precincts.

Charlotte Sosebee, Hall’s elections director, had projected 75 percent. In 2008, nearly 76 percent of the 79,273 registered voters at that time cast ballots.

She could only speculate as to possible reasons for the sharp drop in voting.

“It could have been the (rainy) weather we had early today,” Sosebee said. “It could have been no local contests (on the ballot).”

The only race of local significance was the 9th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, won by Republican Doug Collins.

Sosebee also said that shortening the length of early voting from 45 days to 21 days could have contributed to the smaller turnout.

Otherwise, Election Day was a bit harried for Hall’s election workers.

Many voters had questions about voting procedures or were just confused when they showed up at precincts, Sosebee said.

“They don’t know they are not registered (to vote) or they find out they are in the wrong precinct,” she said early in the day. “I don’t know how much more we can say it: Double-check, make sure you’re registered, and (voters) still don’t do it.”

Phone calls also were pouring in at the county’s election office, which is in the new Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville.

Voting activity varied among precincts, with people waiting up to an hour to cast ballots at the county’s largest precinct, Friendship I at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 6439 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch.

But just a couple of miles away, residents were able to scamper in and out of Davis Middle School, 4450 Hog Mountain Road, Flowery Branch, within five to 10 minutes.

Sosebee said one precinct in South Hall had 300 voters in line.

“I know they had a wait time because I got a complaint from a voter there,” she said.

Looking ahead to future elections, Sosebee said, “We will probably have a little more equipment purchased, either before the next governor’s race or presidential race.”