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Hall County election officials report low turnout in city elections but mostly smooth day of voting
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Gainesville voters move through the lines Nov. 2, 2021, to vote at the Brenau Downtown Center in the city election. - photo by Shannon Casas

Hall County election officials reported a smooth day of voting in Tuesday’s municipal elections, aside from some voters showing up to the wrong precinct and a delay in getting the results. 

Voter officials said they expected light voter turnout, but it was even lower than expected. 

“It has not been as busy as we would like,” said Hall County Elections Director Lori Wurtz. 

The primary reason for the delay in getting results tallied, Wurtz said, is that the county didn’t have enough poll workers, and many of the poll workers they do have are senior citizens. 

Janice Young said one of her fellow poll workers, for instance, was too old and frail to lift the heavy equipment. A cart with all of the voting equipment can weigh as much as 400 pounds. 

Poll worker Larry Dukeman, 82, is happy to do the job but said the county could really benefit from hiring younger poll workers. 

Wurtz said they have already resolved to have more poll workers for the next round of elections. 

This is also the first city elections that have been run with new voting machines. “We’re still learning on the new machines,” Wurtz said. 

And though not all that unusual in city elections, election officials said a number of voters had to be turned away because they came to the wrong precinct. Under Georgia’s new voting law, voters who show up to the wrong precinct before 5 p.m. cannot cast a provisional ballot — they must travel to the correct precinct to cast their vote. 

Wurtz said Hall County has 31 voter precincts for county, state and federal elections. “But we don't need that many precincts for city elections, because there aren't as many voters,” she said.