Election went smoothly, turnout better than expected, official says

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 12:07 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 11:34 PM
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Voting in Richmond County went smoothly during Tuesday’s municipal elections, Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said this morning.

Equipment functioned properly, and the vote-counting process also went off without a hitch, she said.

“I think everything went fine. We didn’t have any problems,” Ms. Bailey said. “The issue we expected to have was the issue we did have with general confusion of people not knowing if their district was voting.”

Half of the Augusta Commission’s 10 seats were up for election, but since only three races had competition, polls were only open in districts 1, 3 and 5. In the other districts, it was assumed the candidates voted for themselves, so those precincts were closed.

About 17 percent of registered voters cast ballots, just exceeding Ms. Bailey’s prediction of a 10 percent to 15 percent turnout and avoiding a record low.

“It was better than expected, but still at the end of the day 17 percent is nothing to brag about,” Ms. Bailey said.

She said she expects a lighter turnout in the Dec. 1 runoff between District 1 candidates Matt Aitken and William Fennoy.

“We will get a better feel for that over the next few weeks as we can see how campaigning is going and the level of interest from voters,” Ms. Bailey added.

The Board of Elections will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday to certify the election’s results.

Based on Tuesday’s tally, incumbent Joe Bowles won his District 3 seat on the Augusta Commission with 80 percent of the vote, and Bill Lockett won District 5 with 51 percent.

Jerry Brigham was unopposed for his District 7 seat, as was fellow incumbent J.R. Hatney in District 9.

Patsy Scott also won a special election for the District 5 Richmond County Board of Education seat that became available after her husband’s death this summer.


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