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Monday, July 12, 2010 - 11:09am

Statewide Early Voting About 1 Percent

State and most local officials report very slow turnout for early voting—with only a week to go before the primaries.

The Georgia Secretary of State's office says 73,590 early votes have been cast statewide. That represents a little more than 1 percent of Georgia’s registered voters.

That number is echoed in much of the state. As example, less than 1 percent in northwest Georgia’s Walker County--and to the northeast, Barrow County around 2 percent.

In southwest Georgia, Lee County election supervisor Veronica Johnson says they’ve only had 1 percent turnout so far...177 votes since the start of early voting in early June. With $8,000 in the county budget to pay workers at early voting precincts, it’s a slim return.

“When you break it down by cost-per-voter right now it’s kind of high. But we’re hoping that number will of course decrease during the rest of this week when we’re hoping more voters will come take advantage of early voting.”

But some pockets of the state have been stronger in early voting. Along with a handful of metro Atlanta counties, it’s been relatively strong in north Georgia’s Union County. Officials report 13 percent turnout there.

Elections supervisor Diana Nichols says voters are being asked whether to allow liquor-by-the-drink.

“We have a special election for a liquor referendum on the ballot this time. Normally we have a higher turnout anyway than the state average but this has contributed to this that we know.”

This is the last week to vote early for the July 20th primary.