Election officials expecting low voter turnout for District 1 runoff

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Campaign 2012 isn't quite over for voters in Richmond County. The District 1 Commission race is Tuesday, and both candidates are still working to reach those last-minute voters.

"There's so much great going on in the city right now, we just want to keep that momentum going," those words coming from the current District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken, who is hoping District 1 voters decide to keep him around another three years.

"I will represent you, I will return your phone calls, I will address your needs, I will meet with your neighborhood associations," said Bill Fennoy, who is hoping to unseat the current commissioner.

Fennoy says he is feeling pretty confident, saying, "I expect a 55 to 45 percent margin of victory."

But, despite his opponent's confidence, Aitken says he thinks history will repeat itself.

"I think the people that believe in me will come back," Aitken said.

If you remember, three years ago, both Aitken and Fennoy fought for the District 1 spot, and in a historic upset, Aitken became the
first white commissioner of the district since consolidation created the majority black district back in 1995. But, thanks to redistricting, district one has grown by about 2,000 voters since the last time the two faced off.

"A lot of people, especially in Cherry Tree, didn't realize they were in District 1," Fennoy said.

Both candidates have been fighting to reach those new voters, mainly using old-fashioned door to door tactics.

"Those front porch conversations really go a long way," Aitken said.

But, after a long and drawn out election season, officials say voters are tired.

"It's hard to get people motivated and back out to the polls, and it's been proven time and time again and I don't think this one will be any exception," said Lynn Bailey, executive director at the Board of Elections.

Less than 3 percent of voters turned out to vote early for this runoff, and officials are only expecting about one-fifth of registered voters to decide this election, meaning every vote counts.

All 14 polling places in District 1 will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Election officials say not to come to the Board of Elections because you can't vote there tomorrow. Be sure to bring your photo ID, and remember, even if you didn't vote in the general election, as long as you are registered to vote in District 1, you can vote in the runoff.

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