Based on the lack of voters at three local polling precincts, turnout in the Aug. 11 primary runoff election could be even lower than expected.
With only five races on the Fulton County ballot, including only three countywide ones, turnout is supposed to be low. But with two high-profile campaigns for district attorney and sheriff included, some expected turnout to be higher than normal.
At the Peachtree Presbyterian Church precinct in Buckhead, there was no one voting or in line when a reporter arrived at 6:55 p.m. Only about 120 of the precinct’s 2,800 registered voters cast ballots in the runoff, Poll Manager Trent Allen said.
“I’m not surprised,” he said when asked about the low turnout. “There was only a few things on the runoff (ballot). Maybe I would have expected a little bit more, but with the precinct splitting back to (the) Buckhead (Library) and this one, it’s about what I thought it would be today.”
At the Chastain Park gym precinct in Buckhead, only 77 of the 5,104 registered voters there had cast ballots as of 12:04 p.m., when a reporter arrived. No residents were casting ballots during a three-minute period while the Neighbor was there.
“It’s good. Kind of slow but it’s good,” Poll Manager Sonia Perryman said of turnout thus far.
When asked if she was expecting turnout to be low because it’s a runoff, she said, “I think so.”
At the Church of the Redeemer precinct in Sandy Springs, only 15 of the 9,920 registered voters there had cast ballots as of 9:33 a.m., when a reporter arrived. Only one resident cast a ballot during a 10-minute period when the Neighbor was there.
“It was slow. We expected it to be slow,” Poll Manager Beryl Davis said of the turnout thus far.
When asked if she thought more residents possibly voting early or via absentee ballot may have contributed to the low early turnout, Davis said, “Early voting was slow, too, because it’s a runoff and not many (races are) on the runoff (ballot).”
The three poll managers said thus far residents had no problems with the voting machines or following COVID-19 pandemic-related rules such as wearing masks or social distancing.
“Everyone’s been great,” Allen said. “… We didn’t have a single issue with the machines today, plus every precinct had a technician on site (in case) we did have a problem. Everyone wore masks. One person came without one and we asked him if he’d (wear) one, and he said, ‘Yeah,’ so that was it.”
Turnout in the runoff has been a far cry from the June 9 primary election, when some residents had to wait up to five hours to vote due to problems with voting machines, staff shortages and other issues.
“It went a lot smoother and I think we’re setting ourselves up for a really good November election,” Allen said of the runoff. “… I think the numbers will rival 2008, if not outpace it. This was a great look at training and getting us ready and set-up for that. This is a good foreshadowing for what it will be in November.”
With the polls now closed, check back with the Neighbor later for runoff results.