BER prepares for record turnout
By Patrick Yost
The Morgan County Board of Elections is preparing for what may be a historic election, at least as far as participation is concerned.
The board last week heard further reports from Bobby Howington, Morgan County Elections Supervisor, that the November 4 General Election is expected to generate more than a 80 percent turnout.
Howington said in August he attended a regional meeting with the Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel in Athens and was told to expect a 80 to 84 percent state–wide turnout. “Each individual county could run that much or higher,” he said.
In the last 30 days, Howington said, more than 600 voters in Morgan County have updated their voter status. New voter registrations or renewals are coming into the office at a brisk clip. Howington said the office is processing approximately 100 registrations every other day. Howington said currently in Clarke County the voter registration board is processing approximately 600 new registrations per day.
Work in Morgan County is at a feverish pitch. “It’s full time,” he said. “Every presidential election year it’s heavy – but not this heavy.”
The presidential campaign isn’t the only thing fueling the voting flame. In Morgan County there are several local elections, from board of commissioners to tax commissioner to sheriff, that are also providing interest to voters.
Early voting will be available on Monday, September 22.
Historically polls in Rutledge, Bostwick, Buckhead and the Morgan County Library are the busiest, Howington said. Extra machines were purchased last year to facilitate the expected crush of voters.
The county will have in place 60 machines, including absentee machines, for the general election. “We’ll be putting out every machine we’ve got,” Howington said.
In the July Primary Election, Morgan County had a 18.5 percent turnout, or roughly 2,200 voters. Currently, Howington said, approximately 11,000 people are registered to vote, which if projections ring true, translates to nearly 9,000 people voting in the election.
At Thursday’s meeting the board also considered funding an appreciation event for Morgan County poll workers in advance of the election. “This is a tremendously big year,” said board chairman John Milliken.
Board member George Holt agreed. “They’re going to work this time. All of us are going to work.”