Augustans who live in commission District 1 are showing little interest in voting early in the runoff between incumbent Matt Aitken and challenger Bill Fennoy.
As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the third day of early voting in the Dec. 4 runoff, only 154 people – about 1 percent of the district’s 14,155 registered voters – had cast an in-person or absentee ballot, according to data from the Richmond County Board of Elections.
Early voting turnout was highest among voters from Precinct 104, Eastview Community Center, where 49 cast ballots, followed by Precinct 109, May Park, where 28 people voted.
If turnout remains low during next week’s five days of early voting and on Election Day, Dec. 4, it could bode well for Aitken, who defeated Fennoy three years ago in a low-turnout runoff that ended a 13-year-old even racial split on the 10-member Augusta Commission.
The 5-5 arrangement, which some Augustans have said was mandated by the consolidated government’s charter, ended even though the district is more than 65 percent black, both in voting-age population and residents.
Higher turnout at Eastview, however, might indicate greater support this time for Fennoy, who swamped Aitken at that large precinct three years ago, 509 votes to 87.
Turnout might be lower now because of the Thanksgiving holiday and could pick up next week, said Travis Doss, the assistant director of the Board of Elections.
Early voting resumes at Monday at the board of elections office in the Augusta-Richmond County Municipal Building, 530 Greene St. Hours are 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays.
On Dec. 4, the district’s 14 polling places will be open.
Aitken and Fennoy, a retired health educator, are in a runoff after none of the candidates in a four-way contest Nov. 6 won a majority of the vote. Aitken received 40 percent and Fennoy had 30 percent. Challengers Stanley Hawes and Denice Traina received around 15 percent of the vote each.
Neither Fennoy nor Aitken, who said he was taking the week off from campaigning, returned phone calls Wednesday.