Turnout minimal in Marengo, ‘medium’ elsewhere

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Turnout for Tuesday’s House District 72 special election wasn’t terribly light–at least, not outside Marengo County.

“I would say it’s been ‘medium,'” said Anne Langford, supervisor for the Greensboro Armory polling place, Hale County’s largest in terms of registered voters. “We haven’t really been flooded, but it has been steady.”

The atmosphere surrounding the Armory Tuesday afternoon supported the idea that news of the election had made a dent in the consciousness of Greensboro residents. Political signs for both candidates lined the roads leading to the Armory. Supporters of both campaigns handed out flyers to voters as they approached the polling place. Law enforcement officials were present at the scene. Although a line never formed, voters consistent passed in and out of the voting room. Most conspicuous outside were the plentiful supporters of Greensboro native Howard, wearing blue t-shirts and waving large blue-and-white signs.

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“It’s been worse,” Langford said.

With almost 4,000 votes cast, turnout in Perry was steady as well.

It was a very different story in Linden, however. The city sits at District 72’s furthest west edge, and with neither candidate from the area, interest in the election was minimal at best. At 3:15 p.m., Linden’s largest polling place, the city’s former Armory building, had only received 32 votes–6 of which belonged to the poll workers themselves.

“It’s extremely low,” said poll worker Dot Doss. “I believe this is the lowest we’ve had.”

“It’s very surprising,” added poll worker Linda Wilson. (And “shocking” to Jacquelyn Davis.) “Usually we have four tables of workers. Today we could have just had one.”

“We opened at 7,” said poll worker Nell Stokes, “and we didn’t have our first voter until 9:30.”

The Linden workers agreed that it was unfortunate that so few people had bothered to make their voice heard in the election process.

“These people who didn’t vote today,” Doss said, “can’t say a thing about this election. They’ll get whatever they get.”

Worker Beverly Barr suggested that the voters were “fatigued” with all the special elections–Tuesday’s District 72 race is being held to replace Bobby Singleton in the state House, who himself was elected by special election to replace the resigned Charles Steele.

We’ve been getting excited whenever we hear the door opening,” said Wilson. “We’ve been going, ‘Ooh, somebody’s coming!'”

The workers at Linden’s other polling place, the old Marengo County Courthouse, hadn’t even had that to keep themselves busy. Because of the District’s boundaries, only 16 registered voters were eligible to vote at the box. As of 3:45, none had arrived to vote.