Election official: Interest pushes more Republicans to polls during early voting
by Emily Boorstein
July 20, 2014 04:00 AM | 2993 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Janine Eveler
Janine Eveler
MARIETTA — The Republican ballot has been the “hot ticket” ahead of Tuesday’s runoff, according to the woman who oversees Cobb’s elections.

Friday was the final day of early voting, and 9,606 Cobb residents voted in person during the advance voting period that started June 30, according to Janine Eveler, the director of the county’s election board. That total does not include mail and overseas ballots.

Eveler said Friday that Republicans generally turned out in larger numbers to vote ahead of time than they did before the May 20 primary.

She was not able to provide a grand total of Republican to Democrat voters because the state reports don’t come out until Monday, but she compared data from two dates to give an example: Thursday was the next to last day to vote ahead of the runoff election and saw 1,183 Republicans cast ballots in the county. The final day to cast a ballot before the primary was May 15, which garnered 1,127 ballots.

In comparing those two days, 56 more Republican voters, or about 5 percent more, turned out to vote in the runoff election.

Typically “the numbers go down in a runoff, so the relatively higher Republican numbers showed a continued interest in the races on that ballot,” Eveler said.

Democrats did not follow suit those same two days: 289 voted May 15, while 136 came to an early polling station Thursday, a difference of 153, or 53 percent fewer voters.

Eveler said most days throughout the runoff’s early voting period showed similar trends.

Joe Dendy, the Cobb GOP chairman, has been keeping tabs on the early voting numbers and said his organization has been putting out emails nearly every day to remind people to vote.

“We’ve really pushed people to go out to the polls and I hope we have as good of a turnout on Tuesday as we had in early voting,” Dendy said.

Cobb Democratic Party Chairwoman Melissa Pike said her group is focused more on the general election than the runoff.

“My job is to get Democrats elected in Cobb, not to get Democrats to fight each other in a primary,” she said.

Pike said some Democrats may have chosen to vote on the Republican ticket during the primary to select a more “mainstream” candidate, “and it’s their prerogative to do so.”

Turnout on Tuesday is expected to be light, as it was in May. Out of the 392,761 registered voters in Cobb, 69,149 — about 18 percent — cast ballots during the primary.

Going by the numbers she’s seen ahead of the runoff, Eveler expects about a 16 percent turnout overall.

For those who plan to vote Tuesday, polling stations will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Voting locations have not changed since the primary, but people who aren’t sure where to go can look up their precinct at the secretary of state’s website: www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.

It is not required to have voted in the primary to vote in the runoff, although those who did will have to vote along the same party lines as they did in May — so a voter who chose a Republican ballot for the primary, for example, will have to cast a Republican ballot again Tuesday.

Voters will need to bring a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. For a full list of acceptable identification, visit the Cobb Elections Board’s website at www.cobbelections.org or call (770) 528-2581.

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