Extreme measures to get voters back out to the polls

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, November 26, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Two seats are still up for grabs on the Augusta Commission. Today was the first day of advanced voting for run-off elections in District 2 and 4. One local personality is announcing a campaign she hopes will bring people back to the polls in large numbers.

Election night is just one week away. "We are down to the wire," says Helen Blocker-Adams.

Blocker-Adams is no stranger to politics. She's a radio host and former mayoral candidate who is now making her voice heard once again...announcing a new grassroots campaign. Some are calling it the first of its kind.

It is a massive get out the vote push through email, radio, and foot soldiers armed with campaign flyers. Even area businesses are signing on, providing discounts to those sporting "I voted" stickers.

"It's a shame that you have to go through these tactics, gimmicks, to get people out to vote, but it is what it is," says Blocker-Adams.

The expected voter turnout is about 14 percent. Election officials say even grass-root campaigns won't be enough to drive up the numbers.

Lynn Bailey with the Board of Elections says, "This run-off election will probably generate a little more interest than some run-offs, but I don't think that we'll see the same turnout that we saw November 6th."

"Maybe based on historical data, but my thing is, let's create some new history," Blocker-Adams said.

22,000 people are eligible to vote in this election. In District 2, Mayor Deke Copenhaver is throwing his support behind Freddie Handy. Corey Johnson is drawing support from Commissioner Marion Williams.

In District 4, both the mayor and former candidate Tanya Barnhill are looking past incumbent Bernard Harper, and choosing to support Alvin Mason.

"I am asking folks who supported me in any way, big or small, to cast their vote for Al Mason, and I don't take that responsibility lightly," Barnhill said.

Bottom line, Adams says, "The change is in the air, we just gotta get that message out for the masses to change that voter apathy, and we're gonna help do that."

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