WARNER ROBINS -- After a slow start, voting in the city’s runoff election for mayor and an at-large council post appeared to be picking up as poll closing neared Tuesday.
The polls close at 7 p.m. Anyone in line at that time will be allowed to vote.
At the Recreation Department precinct, poll manager Dwan Johnson said turnout was not far behind that of the general election, when about 600 people voted at the precinct. With about 90 minutes left before the polls closed, she projected about 500 will have voted in the runoff.
Earlier in the day voters were trickling into the polls. Only 18 people had voted at the Houston County Annex as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Polls opened at 7 a.m.
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“It’s embarrassing,” said precinct official Mat Gutierrez.
Retired city Pubic Works Director Joe Musselwhite is facing retired firefighter Randy Toms in the mayoral runoff. Mayor Chuck Shaheen, who narrowly missed winning the election outright in November, is challenging incumbent Councilman Mike Daley for his Post 1 seat.
At Feagin Mill Middle School, just 58 people had cast votes by 8:40 a.m. One poll worker described turnout as “very slow,” paused, then repeated “very slow.” Outside the school, there was more enthusiasm. Supporters tried to get passing cars to turn into the school, with Musselwhite’s son and Toms’ father among the people in wet-weather gear campaigning from the sidewalk.
Just over 1,500 Warner Robins residents voted early for the runoff election.
In November, overall about 6,600 people -- or 20 percent of registered voters -- cast ballots.
Writers Becky Purser and Mike Stucka contributed to this report. For more on this story, come back to macon.com and read Wednesday’s Telegraph.