Runoff Turnout Varies from Heavy to Light; Senate Candidates Said How Many Voted to Decide the Election

Article excerpt

Throughout their U.S. Senate runoff campaigns, both incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin said the results would depend on whose voters turned out -- not on any new issues.

Some Southeast Georgia voters appear to have gotten the message.

"This is unbelievable,'' said Becky Rowell, manager of the poll at St. William Catholic Church on St. Simons. "We're voting 100 people an hour. We've never had a runoff like this.''

Runoffs are known for their poor turnout, but the unrelenting campaign seems to have kept many voters energized.

"I guess it's been all the national media attention on this race,'' she said.

The same was true at two other polls on St. Simons Island, one at Christian Renewal Church and another at Oglethorpe Point Elementary School.

Poll manager Leah Hopkins said Oglethorpe Point had 380 voters by 1:30 p.m., but only had generated 504 all day for the general election.

"A lot of ours vote advance," she said.

But that was less convenient for the runoff with only seven full days to vote and only one advance voting poll open, that in downtown Brunswick. For the general election, the Board of Elections headquarters took early voters for more than a month and then opened two additional polls for a week of advance voting.

Turnout was low in Camden County, with the highest numbers in precincts in the south end of the county that are considered Republican strongholds. …