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Fulton elections chief predicting low turnout
by Staff Reports
October 27, 2013 08:00 PM | 6394 views | 2 2 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fulton County’s top elections official is predicting a turnout of only up to 20 percent in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan city elections.

“My guess is we’re going to have somewhere around 15 to 20 percent,” said Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron, who took the post in June. “That might be optimistic based on the advance voting numbers. … This year I think it’s been really slow through [Thursday].

“I just think it’s going to be lower this year based on what we’ve seen in the office based on what my staff has told me.”

Barron is forecasting a turnout similar to 2009, when the same seats were up for a vote. That year, voter turnout was 18.2 percent countywide but 30.4 percent in Atlanta, where a split vote in the mayoral and three city council elections brought more residents to the polls. In the December runoff that year, turnout was even higher, at 35.3 percent.

Barron said the county currently has about 679,000 registered voters.

According to the Fulton Elections website, 3,280 people in the county had either voted early or cast absentee/mail-in ballots through Thursday (1,261 by mail and 2,209 by early voting). Early voting started Oct. 14 and ends Friday, and the county opened four polling places for residents to vote in on those dates.

Four additional early voting sites, which open Monday and close Friday, are:

o Adamsville Recreation Center, 3201 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Atlanta

o Wesley Coan Recreation Center, 1530 Woodbine Ave., Atlanta

o Peachtree Hills Recreation Center, 308 Peachtree Hills Ave., Buckhead

o Alpharetta City Hall, 2 S. Main St., Alpharetta

Fulton has had problems with past elections and has been cited by the state for them.

When asked if his department was ready for Tuesday’s election, he said, “Yes. I have some reservations about ElectionNet, the new voter registration system. However, I am seeing progress made on that daily. … Early voting has been running smoothly, so I think we’re going to be OK.”

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