Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early-Bird Voters Swamp Polls Absentee Turnout Fuels Expectations for Today

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early-Bird Voters Swamp Polls Absentee Turnout Fuels Expectations for Today

Article excerpt

Southeast Georgia voters lined up yesterday to cast last-minute absentee ballots for the general election today that already has boasted a record-setting turnout.

Meanwhile, county election officials finished installing and testing voting machines at precincts throughout the region. The presidential race is the big drawing card, officials said.

"The presidential election traditionally has a higher voter turnout than other election years," said Cecil Little, chairman of the Glynn County Board of Elections.

A steady stream of residents filed into the elections office in Brunswick throughout the morning yesterday to cast absentee ballots.

"We've been swamped. This is the biggest turnout that we've ever had for absentee ballots," Little said.

Little said 2,990 absentee ballots had been given out as of Friday. At least another 100 were expected to be cast by the end of business last night, he predicted.

That's a record for Glynn County. The previous absentee ballot count was 1,933 in 1992, Little said.

"This is too many absentee voters to be normal. You have to wonder whether these people are really going to be out of town or just want to vote absentee to avoid lines [today] at the polling places," Little said. "But there's really no way to tell what the real reason is."

Little said generally a high number of absentee ballots indicates a moderate to heavy turnout at the polls.

Glynn County has 35,834 registered voters.

"I think we're going to see at least a 65 percent voter turnout at our polls," Little said.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox is predicting that 61 percent or about 2.35 million of the Georgia's active voters will cast ballots today. The state has slightly more than 3.85 million registered voters, Cox said.

That is well shy of the state's record for a presidential election set in 1992 when 73 percent of Georgians turned out at the polls. …

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