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Turnout strong for runoff at 25 percent
George Bishop casts his ballot at the Gainesville Civic Center this morning. - photo by Tom Reed

Some 20,000 voters cast ballots Tuesday in Hall County for a Republican primary runoff that included five races not decided July 31.

That number, almost 25 percent of registered voters, is more than 15 percentage points higher than in 2008, which saw a turnout of almost 8.7 percent. It’s only about 10 percentage points behind the July 31 primary, which saw almost 35 percent turnout.

“I’m very pleased that it went beyond the percentage that I predicted,” said Charlotte Sosebee, Hall’s director of elections, who said she expected about 15 percent to show up to the polls. “Looking at our early voting totals, I knew we would have a high voter turnout.”

Many of the races on the ballot had been hotly contested, and only the winner of one race, that for the Republican nomination as U.S. representative in the 9th District, faces Democratic opposition in November.

Voters noted the importance of voicing their opinion.

“I’ve learned my lesson in not voting and seeing results I didn’t like, so I’m voting as much as I can now, including runoffs,” said Chris Thompson, who was voting late Tuesday afternoon at the Gainesville Civic Center. “That way, even if I don’t like the politician that gets the seat, I can say I voted.”

Other voters shared similar sentiments.

“I felt strongly enough about the candidate I voted for in the first election to come back out a second time,” said Dottie Church, voting at the Georgia Mountains Center. “It’s not like voting is a chore to me. I only get the chance to vote every so often, so I might as well take whatever opportunity I can get.”

Though the turnout was strong, some voters still were confused on how a runoff works, Sosebee said.

Those who picked up a Democratic ballot on July 31 were not eligible to pick up a Republican ballot in the runoff.

Early voting for the November election will begin Oct. 15 and the last day to register is Oct. 8.

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