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Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - 11:30am

Statewide Polls Close

Polls are now closed across the state, as Georgia voters earlier in the day lined-up to cast ballots for a slew of state and local seats.

That includes races for governor, secretary of state, 13 congressional districts and a U.S. senate seat.

Election officials reported a steady turnout at many precincts around Georgia throughout the day Tuesday.

A mix of Republicans and Democrats were at Asbury Methodist Church in Augusta to cast votes during their lunch breaks.

Margaret Paradiso was there to vote for Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal.

She says Deal’s Democratic opponent, former Governor Roy Barnes, has already had his time in Georgia politics:

"I don’t believe in giving second chances to someone who lost an election. Roy Barnes has been pretty shady as far as his advertisements and I think we need to give some new blood and new life into the state of Georgia and that’s why I voted for him."

In Peachtree City, a steady stream of people headed to the polls during the day in the mostly conservative suburb south of Atlanta.

Steve Russell is an electrical engineer by trade and an independent voter. He says he voted mainly Republican.

"[For] Governor, Lt Governor...I voted Republican. I think unfortunately this year the choice for governor was between the bad and the worse, I went for the bad instead of the worse."

Russell says he’s not happy with the ethics issues surrounding Deal and he’s soured by Barnes’ past performance.

Elaine Rippman is a Republican who is retired.

She says she normally sits the midterm election out, but she’s not happy with what’s going on in Congress particularly with the national health care law and the social security budget, so she took her dissatisfaction to the polls.

"Normally, I do the major election, but I decided to do this one. Because of the way everything is going in the country, we need a change."

Russell and Rippman were two of the 600 people who had showed up to vote by midday at a Peachtree City precinct.

In a handful of precincts GPB checked-in on during the day, elections officials described voter traffic as "steady" or better than normal.

In northeast Georgia’s White County, elections supervisor Garrison Baker says it was steady at the county’s 11 precincts into the early afternoon. And he says good traffic was set-up by a 20 percent return in early voting-- better than average for the county.

“We just weren’t sure if that was going to translate into more people coming to the polls or if it just was more people taking advantage of the early voting process. Based on what we’re seeing, there’s an interest in this election, so we’re seeing more people come out.”

Baker projects a nearly 60 percent total for combined turnout--early and election day balloting.

Elsewhere, in southeast Georgia’s Glynn County, elections supervisor Cynthia Johnson says many of the county’s 43,000 registered and active voters were ready to go at 7am.

“Started out right away, people lined-up ready to vote, and it’s continued steadily all morning. Our early voting was just about 19 percent, and that would be by mail and in person for absentee.”

Johnson projects up to a 50 percent combined early and election day total—about the same as the last midterm cycle four years ago.

Elections officials in middle Georgia's Houston County say turnout was steady early in the day also. The county already had 16 percent of its eligible voters return 'early' ballots.

Complete coverage of the elections in Georgia and across the nation can be heard tonight beginning at 8 on GPB. You can also tune-in for web cam coverage on


Melissa Stiers, Edgar Treiguts