Saturday marked the first time Augustans could vote on a weekend, but the turnout was not as high as election officials would have liked.
“I think it was a very light turn out,” said Lynn Bailey, the county Board of Elections executive director. “But it was the first time we had voting on a Saturday.”
Almost to closing time, which was 4 p.m., fewer than 175 people had voted in person Saturday during advance voting in the March 6 Presidential Preference Primary and Special Election – 22 at the Board of Elections’ main office, 85 at the Warren Road Recreation Center and 66 the Henry Brigham Recreation Center.
“Typically we don’t see as many voters for the primary,” she said. “In November, we will be swamped.”
At the Warren Road Recreation Center, Kellie McIntyre stopped by to vote while she was out shopping.
“It is more convenient,” she said about being able to vote Saturday. “But I would have gotten here either way.”
Theresia Hess, who was in charge of the polls at the center, said she had a steady flow all day.
“People have come in today for all kinds of reasons,” she said. “Some because they aren’t working or something else.”
The center has a loyal voter-base, the 10-year veteran said, which she thinks helped bring people out Saturday.
This year, early voting was reduced from 45 to 21 days, which was part of the reason Saturday voting was available. The voters Saturday add to the 400 in-person voters and 682 requested ballots by mail reported Friday evening. Advance voting began Feb. 20 and continues Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the three locations.
The Board of Elections had hoped opening the three offices Saturday would help voters who might not get to the polls otherwise, Baily said.
“We wanted to add a convenience factor that wasn’t there before,” Bailey said.
During the day, she said they had seen college students to senior citizens.
Bailey thought the voters might not know about Saturday voting yet, which could have added to the light turnout. Moving forward, the Board of Elections plans on being open on the second Saturday for all upcoming elections.