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Primary runoffs see low early voter turnout

Voting in today’s Democratic primary runoff got off to a slowTuesday morning, poll workers said as citizens made their choicesin two city alderman races today.

“It’s been slow compared to last time,” said Ward One pollmanager Dorothy Watkins. “Hopefully it’s going to be a betterturnout, but I believe it’s going to be low.”

After polls had been open for a little over an hour, Ward Onehad only seen about 21 voters.

Most poll workers agree that having just one city-wide race, inwhich Ronnie D. Bass is facing Les Bumgarner for the alderman atlarge post, will result in much lower than average numbers.

“Since there aren’t but two people on the ballot, many peoplewon’t come out just for one race,” said Debbie Sartin, poll managerin Ward Three, which had about half the early turnout as primaryvoting two weeks ago.

Several supporters for both Bass and Bumgarner were outcampaigning this morning in hopes of increasing the voterturnout.

The highest numbers in the city came from Ward Two, whereincumbent alderman Terry L. Bates Sr. faces Rolanda C. Spiller forthe position.

“We’ve had more than we really expected and I think later in theday we’ll have more activity,” said poll worker Mary EllenJones.

She noted that 45 people had already voted by 8:15 a.m. at theAlexander Junior High voting place compared to just 37 voters bythat time two weeks ago.

The turnout at Brookhaven Elementary School, where Ward Fourvoters cast their ballots, was low with only 32 signaturesfollowing around an hour of voting.

“It’s been slow and it’s probably going to be slow all day,”said Ward Four poll manager Janet Moreton.

Even though there was just one city-wide race, poll workersremained optimistic at other wards, mentioning how thealderman-at-large position affects all residents.

“I think it’s going to be good. We’ve already had 25 and that’sall right for early in the morning,” said Dorothy Lofton, pollmanager at the Chamber of Commerce building, Ward Five’s votinglocation.

Early results in Ward Six were down about 50 percent with just34 voters by 8 a.m., but poll manager Becky Grim said that was”fair” for early voter turnout.

“It’s certainly nothing like it was two weeks ago, but we didn’texpect it would be,” she said.

Most poll workers believe the voter turnout will come closer tothe average toward the end of the day when many people have morefree time and are not trying to rush to work.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty good day,” said Lofton.

The polls will remain open until 7 p.m.