Fewer likely to vote today

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If you hate long lines and multiple-question ballots, no worries.

Today's 10th Congressional District runoff between Jim Whitehead, R-Evans, and Dr. Paul Broun, R-Athens, will be the only question on the computer touchscreen, and it isn't expected to draw a large turnout in Richmond or Columbia counties.

"We haven't seen quite as much interest in this runoff as we saw in the initial election," said Lynn Bailey, Richmond County's Board of Elections director.

" ... It should be a very quick in and out."

In Richmond County, where only 36,000 voters reside in the 10th Congressional District, 23 of 52 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ms. Bailey said she expects an 11 to 14 percent turnout. In the June 19 election, which created the runoff because Mr. Whitehead didn't secure the needed 50 percent plus one vote, there was a 17 percent voter turnout in Richmond County.

Last week, 443 Richmond residents voted early as part of advance voting week.

In Columbia County, where all 71,362 registered voters will be allowed to vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nancy Gay, the county's voter registration coordinator, said she anticipates a 10 to 15 percent turnout today.

Last month, 21 percent of Columbia County voters turned out, giving a boost to Mr. Whitehead, the past state senator who is from the county. In that election, Mr. Whitehead received 43.5 percent of the vote to Dr. Broun's 20.7 percent.

Last week, 1,704 Columbia County residents voted early.

On Monday, Mr. Whitehead said he believes the race will come down to voter turnout in Columbia and Richmond counties.

"That's exactly what it's going to come down to," he said. "Columbia County and west Richmond County, and if we get the same 14,000 votes that we got there (June 19), that's pretty strong."

Mr. Whitehead said he believes his experience and stance on such issues as the right to life, illegal immigration, the Iraq war and the fair tax will bring voters out in support of him today.

Dr. Broun said Monday he's hoping to garner votes districtwide based on his plans to bring change to the area as a whole.

" ... The battle lines aren't Augusta versus Athens," he said. "To me the battle lines are status quo, continued politics as usual, supporting the Republican establishment, all versus someone who's going to represent the people's interests and is going to be an agent for positive change."

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115 or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

RUNOFF VOTING


In Richmond County: 23 of 52 precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To make sure you live in the 10th Congressional District, call the Richmond County Board of Elections office at (706) 821-2340 or visit the county's Web site at www.augustaga.gov, go to the City Departments and then Board of Elections link, then click Polling Place Information.

In Columbia County: all precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call the Columbia County Board of Elections office at (706) 868-3355.

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