The 2012 general election drew Troup County’s highest voter turnout that election officials have seen with 64.43 percent of registered voters casting ballots.
“That’s the highest that I know of ever in Troup County,” said Probate Judge Donald Boyd, who currently serves as elections superintendent. “The highest before that – I believe in 2008, we had 48 to 50 percent … I know we’ve never had a turnout in the 60s.”
Boyd believes that the significance of this year’s elections drove more people to the polls. He said that, locally, the race for the open County Commission District 3 seat, which was won by Republican Tripp Foster, and the hotly contested sheriff’s race, which will come down to a runoff between Republican James Woodruff and Democrat Ruben Hairston, brought more people out. Also, the contentious presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney drove more people to the polls.
The number of registered voters for the county also was at its highest for this year’s general election, Boyd said, with 40,524 people registered. Troup County Chief Registrar Amy Hyatt said that about 2,000 people registered to vote for this election, which is a high number. Hyatt said she saw a lot of young voters coming out to register and vote for the first time.
In early voting, 11,225 people cast their ballots for the general election. Hyatt noted that in the 2008 presidential election, there were 8,000 ballots cast in a 45-day early voting period, while the current year’s early voting period was 21 days.
On a state perspective, Troup County was still lower than most counties, which mostly drew more than 70 percent of voters for the election. Statewide, 71.67 percent of registered voters, 3,890,949 people, came out to vote.
Locally, Boyd said voting at the polls Tuesday went smoothly.
“We had a few complaints here and there, a few small issues, but for the most part it was smooth,” Boyd said. “At 64 percent voter turnout, I’d say it went great.
“We always have a few issues with candidates complaining about campaign signs being too close to the polling places, or campaigning too close to precincts, but we didn’t have any issues with long waiting periods. We had lines, but none that I know of that we over 20 to 30 minutes long.”
Boyd gave credit to all the people who worked during the election.
“I want to thank all the poll workers. People think these elections just happen, but we can’t do it without a good team of folks,” he said. “We have 200 part-time people working for us. It’s a hard job and they’re under a lot of stress because there are so many laws that can be broken unintentionally; and during an election, it seems people are looking for something to find wrong rather than right, but they made it though with few complaints. That’s worth congratulating.”
With the general election behind, voting officials now have only one race left to deal with – the Dec. 4 runoff in the sheriff’s race. There will be no other races on the Dec. 4 runoff ballot, but all polling places will be open.
Boyd said early voting may start no later than Nov. 19 for the runoff election. Anyone registered to vote in the general election is eligible to vote in the runoff. Exact dates will be announced once they are set.