Politics & Government

Voter turnout high in midstate

Voter turnout for Tuesday's presidential primary proved to be strong in the midstate.

Many counties posted turnouts well above the those in the 2000 presidential primary, which was the last primary that did not involve an incumbent president. Several counties saw turnouts that reached well past the 40 percent mark — a 20-year state record that was set in 1988 when there were similar hotly contested primaries.

In Bibb County, 49 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the primary, compared to 27 percent in 2000.

Baldwin County saw similar results. Forty-eight percent of registered voters cast ballots Tuesday, said county Election Superintendent Todd Blackwell.

"That's extremely high for a presidential primary," he said.

In 2000, 37 percent of Baldwin voters showed up for the primary.

Blackwell said the increased turnout was due to a combination of factors.

"One, it's the candidates. I think that they are running a tight race on both the Republican and Democratic sides," he said. "I think that's created a lot of interest there."

Two, the Georgia primary was moved up this year, causing the candidates to start campaigning earlier, he said.

As a result, more voters were ready to head to the polls when it came time to cast ballots, he said.

In Houston County, 44 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the primary, compared to 28 percent in 2000.

Some voters could tell early on the turnout would be high.

"When I went and voted in Centerville, I had to wait 10 or 15 minutes in line. And, at that tiny little precinct, that was significant," said Beth Perera, a Houston County Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton.

In Peach County, 45.6 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls, said county elections supervisor Michelle Riley. That compares to 28 percent in 2000.

In Crawford County, 37.2 percent of voters cast ballots in the primary, said Brenda Peacock, the county's elections supervisor. Twenty-three percent of registered voters cast ballots in 2000.

"I think probably there was a lot of controversy over this (election), moreso than in the past, and that's what made people get out," Peacock said.

Jones County saw a turnout of 51 percent — up from 26 percent in 2000. This year, Jones County voters also voted on a special purpose local option sales tax that would be used for education purposes.

Telegraph staff writers Travis Fain and Chuck Thompson contributed to this report.