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Paulding Sees Nearly 74 Percent Voter Turnout

Turnout was higher during the 2008 presidential election, but this year’s election cycle saw a higher rate of early voting.

More Paulding County voters took part in the 2012 general election than in 2008, but this year’s election saw a smaller turnout rate than the one four years ago.

According to Tuesday’s unofficial and incomplete results, 57,483 ballots were cast from the county’s 77,831 active voters—a turnout of 73.9 percent. By comparison, the 2008 general election saw just over 79 percent of its 72,281 active voters cast ballots—57,108 in all.

“We’re very pleased with 74 percent. It was a little bit less than 2008—we were at 79 percent [then]—but we’re just glad all the voters came out and voted,” Paulding Elections Supervisor Deidre Holden said Tuesday night, adding that the day’s rainy weather may or may not have played a factor.

But this election topped the previous presidential election when it came to early voting.

Of the 57,483 ballots tabulated as part of Tuesday’s results, more than 60 percent of them came in the days leading up to Election Day; the county saw 35,602 voters come to the polls for early and advance voting. This year’s early turnout was 45.7 percent; in the previous presidential election, 43.8 percent of Paulding’s active voters beat the Election-Day lines.

The strong participation in early voting likely contributed to a lack of wait times in many of Paulding’s polling sites Tuesday. The majority of users posting on Dallas-Hiram Patch’s Facebook page and sending tweets to @DallasPatch reported no lines at their respective precincts when they arrived to vote.

“I don’t think we had any wait times in any of our polling locations today over 20 minutes. We were very pleased with that as well,” Holden said. “I want to really brag on the poll managers for working with the voters and processing them as fast as they did. We were preparing for one-hour to one-and-a-half-hour waits, so we were pleased with the total outcome.

“And early voting helped tremendously, and our satellite locations [during advance voting] also.”

Tuesday night’s results also showed that 2,882 votes came from paper absentee ballots; the county recorded 3,939 paper ballots during the previous presidential election.

Holden said a few more votes will arrive by Friday, including military and overseas ballots as well as some provisional ballots, but far too few to impact the outcomes of any races. Officials are set to certify the results Friday at 4 p.m.

Related news: Paulding County Election Results

Though most races were settled in Tuesday’s election, one race will have some Paulding voters summoned back to the polls next month. A Dec. 4 runoff will determine the Republican candidate in the State Senate District 30 race after Bill Hembree and Mike Dugan were the top two vote-getters in their four-man race; neither man took the half-plus-one share of the vote needed to avoid a runoff.

In Paulding, the race will affect those within four county precincts—Taylor Farm Park, Nebo Elementary, Austin Middle and Carl Scoggins Middle. Those polling places will be open on Dec. 4; affected voters also will be able to early vote Nov. 26-30, but only at the county elections office.

The winner of the runoff will advance to face James Camp, a Libertarian, in a Jan. 8 special election to ultimately determine the district’s next senator.

District 30 also includes a western portion of Douglas County and most of Carroll County.

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