In 2008, during Barack Obama’s first bid for president, turnout rates were strong nationwide, including Bartow County, which saw a 71.3 percent turnout — just 0.02 percent above that of Tuesday’s election.
“This year, we had a 71.28 percent turnout. So we’re talking almost exactly the same turnout as four years ago,” said Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk. “For the turnout we had, it was a very smooth day. Any time you’re dealing with that many people in one day, it’s going to be a little problematic, but all in all it was a good day.”
The Center Road voting precinct registered the highest turnout rate in Bartow this election cycle with 77.19 percent. Cartersville West, Pine Log and Taylorsville all came in close behind Center Road, each with a turnout in the 76 percent range.
Turnout was high at precincts across Bartow, with the county’s lowest turnout rate for the general election seen in the Allatoona polling precinct with 65.46 percent. Turnout was not strong, however, for Emerson’s special election. Emerson city residents were asked to go to the polls twice, once at their regular polling place for the general election ballot, which returned a 70.42 percent turnout, and again at Emerson City Hall for a vote on freeport tax exemption and alcohol sales. The Emerson special election drew only a 31.54 percent turnout.
Although turnout was relatively even throughout precincts, Kirk did note a trend of when people got out to vote. Those in precincts with higher populations, tended to have higher advance turnout and those with smaller populations tended to have higher day-of turnout.
“Overall, everyone was hitting fairly similar turnout numbers, mostly within 10 percent, but there was a difference between small precincts and large precincts in when they voted,” Kirk said. “The interesting trend we noticed right off the bat [Wednesday] morning, is the larger the poll the higher their advance turnout and smaller the poll, the higher their day-of turnout.”
Countywide, this year’s election showed a higher day-of turnout than that of 2008, while 2008 saw a higher advance turnout. Kirk attributes this to a shortened advance-voting period. The early voting period in Georgia has been shortened since the 2008 election with the addition of a Saturday for early weekend voting.
“In 2008, we had 36 percent of the county in person before election day and about 4 and a half [percent] in the mail before election day. This time, we had 28 percent vote in person before election day, only 3 percent through the mail and hit almost a 40 percent turnout on election day at the polls,” Kirk said.
For information on election day results, including votes by precinct, visit www.sos.georgia.gov, click on the Georgia Elections Results link in the center of the page and follow the link below the tutorial video on the next page.
All results are unofficial and incomplete until the Bartow County Board of Elections verifies results Friday at 5:05 p.m. at 10 Elizabeth St. in Cartersville. The verification process is open to the public.