Republican party leaders 'surprised' by early voter turnout in Augusta

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email

News 12 First at Five / Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Early voting is now underway in Georgia. Nine hundred and twenty-seven people voted on the first day of early voting in Richmond County.

"The people are excited about this race," said Bishop L.A. Green. "They are really excited."

From members of the clergy to members of political parties, the feelings are mutual.

"I think there is a great deal of excitement in the air," said former Republican Party Chair Sherry Barnes. "People are really wanting to vote."

The lines tell the story. More than 300 people voted before 11 a.m. in Richmond County.

"I was very surprised. Three hundred before 11 o'clock on Monday morning," Barnes said. "That's a lot."

"As long as early voting stays on, you're going to see we're going to have a great turnout," Green said. "We're going to break a record."

That would be quite a record to break. Approximately 40,000 people voted before Election Day in 2008. There was 80 percent turnout in Richmond County.

"We anticipated that there would be fewer people voting than in 2008," Barnes said. "But it may be as many, if not more."

Green says local pastors have worked to provide voter education to their congregation.

"Everybody from the senior citizens to the seniors in college have their ID," Green said. "They are ready."

Green is referencing people like 18-year-old Marquette Davis who voted for the first time Monday before heading to basic training.

"I feel good just to have my voice heard. It was real new. I was looking through the ballot," Davis said. "But I think I made some informed decisions."

Davis' first civic duty is done. He is now off to protect and serve.

"I'm a little nervous because I leave for basic next week," Davis said. "I expect good things out of it, though."

Election Day is Nov. 6. Early voting runs through Nov. 2. Polls will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the main office located at 530 Greene Street.

Voters can also vote early on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Starting Oct. 29, polls stay open until 6 p.m. for advanced voting. The locations expand to the Brigham Center and the Warren Road community center.

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