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Voter turnout considered a disappointment
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Residents cast primary ballots Tuesday morning in Clermont's Concord Baptist Church, Hall County's northernmost precinct. - photo by NAT GURLEY

Voter turnout Tuesday was mostly slow early in the day and things didn’t pick up later, with just 19.3 percent casting ballots when all was said and done.

“I am disappointed,” Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said. “Thirty-five percent is what I would have liked to have seen, but that’s me being positive and optimistic about the primary vote. Hopefully this primary will get people excited about the general election and even the primary runoff.”

Turnout is typically a bit lagging in primary races to begin with, but many believed it might suffer even more this year as the primary is taking place earlier.

Hall has about 78,900 registered voters. During three weeks of early voting, 2,600 ballots were cast, while another 400 absentee returns were mailed in.

“I know that, from some of the precincts that called in this morning, they had maybe one voter waiting,” Sosebee said earlier in the day about the turnout.

Things were “very, very slow” at the Blackshear Place Baptist Church precinct in Oakwood, poll manager John Cornelson said.

Just 25 out of a potential 1,777 voters in the precinct — less when factoring in early voters — had cast ballots two hours after polls opened.

“The advantage with a slow election is it gives (new poll workers) a chance to really get their feet on the ground, but it doesn’t need to be quite this slow,” Cornelson said.

Janis Henowitz, who manages the polls at Chicopee Baptist Church south of Gainesville, said voting was about on target, “but I wouldn’t call it a steady flow.”

Voters will have another chance to turn out July 22 for runoffs in a few races. The general election will be held Nov. 4.

Staff writers Jeff Gill and Charles Phelps contributed to this report.