Published Thursday, February 07, 2013

Voter turnout minuscule in state House election

Editorial

At a recent civic club meeting in Newnan, someone asked, “What kind of a turnout can we expect at this upcoming special election (to fill the vacant Georgia House District 71 representing much of East Coweta County and a small slither of Fayette County near Peachtree City)?”

Some answered, “20 percent or less.”

Tuesday was election day in House District 71, and the turnout was considerably less than 20 percent. The turnout was in the single digits -- a minuscule 7.87 percent in the Coweta precincts and only 2.1 percent in Fayette.

In Coweta County, 2,670 of the 34,007 registered voters went to the polls. In Fayette, 62 of 3,000 voters cast ballots. That is a dismal turnout.

Six candidates were running in Tuesday’s election, and no candidate received a majority of the votes. There will be a March 5 runoff election between the two top vote getters -- David Stover and Tom Crymes. Stover received 42.68 percent of the vote while Crymes got 19.95 percent.

Oftentimes, runoff elections have even lower turnouts than one-race special elections. It will be interesting to see if the March turnout can go lower than Tuesday’s turnout.

Stover had a big lead in Tuesday’s voting, more than doubling Crymes’ number. Who will the four other losing candidates’ voters support? Will they even return to the polls?

Whichever candidate can do the best job of getting their supporters to the polls will win the March runoff. There are 37,000 registered voters in District 71. If one of the candidates can get 1,500 of his voters to the polls March 5, he will likely win the election.

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.