Temperatures in the 40s and a chilly northeast wind didn’t seem to diminish voter enthusiasm this morning at the polls.
Election workers reported long lines across Richmond County in the first couple of hours after polls were open. In south Augusta, about 350 voters had cast ballots by 9 a.m. at Gracewood Community Center on Tobacco Road, poll manager Pat Quattlebaum said.
“We’ve been very busy this morning,” she said. “We’ve had a line since we opened.”
Richmond County Elections Director Lynn Bailey said voting had gone smoothly for the most part, although one polling place – Aldersgate United Methodist Church – opened a few minutes late. Bailey said she was trying to find out why.
Richard Roundtree, the Democratic candidate for Richmond County sheriff, stopped in at the Gracewood polling place just after 9 a.m. He said he would be making his rounds at different locations throughout the day.
Roundtree, who faces Republican Freddie Sanders in the sheriff’s contest, said his campaign workers would be checking voter turnout this morning to put a gauge on how he was faring.
“We get our numbers around 9:30 a.m.,” Roundtree said. “As long as turnout is high, we feel good.”
Roundtree said he planned to vote about 11 a.m. at Jamestown Community Center and hit about six more polling places in the afternoon to keep tabs on how the election was progressing.
Roundtree’s opponent got a later start this morning. Sanders’ first polling place stop was at National Hill Baptist Church on Washington Road. Turnout was heavy there. Poll workers reported about 460 voters by 10:30 a.m.
Sanders, a lawyer, said he wasn’t going to spend his day campaigning or checking in at different poll locations.
“I’m going back work,” he said. “I really have a lot to catch up on today.”