At the end of early voting on Friday, 11,709 Oconee County residents had cast a ballot, representing 42.5 percent of the county’s 27,530 active, registered voters.
Four years ago at the end of early voting, only 24.4 percent of the county’s then 22,526 active registered voters had participated, indicating final turnout for Tuesday’s election almost certainly will exceed by a considerable amount turnout four years ago.
At the end of the tabulation in 2014, only 13,684 of the county’s active, registered voters had cast a ballot, for a final turnout rate of 60.8 percent. In 2014, 40.1 of the votes cast were through early, in person voting.
Turnout this year seems more likely to approximate that of a presidential election year than an off year.
In 2016 in Oconee County, 85.1 percent of the active registered voters cast a ballot. Turnout had been 80.0 percent in 2012 and 84.4 percent in 2008.
Final Day Voting
A total of 1,185 person cast a ballot on Friday, the 16th and final day of early voting.
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Across the three weeks of early voting, the three Friday’s produced the largest turnouts, with 808 votes cast on Oct. 19, 772 on Oct. 26, and the 1,185 on Nov. 2.
Oct. 27, the only day for Saturday voting, had 732 votes cast.
The average for each of the 16 days of early voting was 731.8 votes cast.
Last week’s issue of The Oconee Enterprise was full of advertisements for the candidates for the Oconee County Board of Education, for the county’s delegation to the General Assembly in Atlanta, and for the three open seats on the Watkinsville City Council.
Each of the candidates is hoping these advertisements–combined with yard signs, mailings, and individual canvassing–will bring out any remaining voters who might support them on Tuesday.
The two seats on the Board of Commissioners are uncontested.
A Republican Party advertisement in last week’s Enterprise called on party faithful to not let “Democrats beat us at the polls,” claiming there are more than 12,000 Republicans in the county and just more than 7,000 Democrats.
The advertisement did not specify the source of that classification of voters. Nor did it identify the sponsor of the advertisement precisely.
Georgia does not have registration by party, meaning in some sense all Georgia voters, and all Oconee County voters, are “independents.”
Oconee County Republican Party Chair Tammy Gilland acknowledged my email request for the source of the advertisement’s claim that about 63 percent of the county’s voters are Republicans, but she did not provide an answer.
In 2016, Donald Trump got 67.4 percent of the vote in Oconee County, and Hillary Clinton got 28.0 percent.
If those ratios are extended to the current 27,530 voters in the county, the county would have 18,555 “Republicans” and 7,708 “Democrats.”
In the May 22 party primaries this year in Oconee County, 5,772 persons participated using the Republican ballot, and 1,976 participated using the Democratic ballot.
That would suggest that, among the partisans, 74.5 percent are Republicans and the remaining 25.5 percent are Democrats.
The official total number of registered voters on May 22 for Oconee County, based on the state’s web site, was 28,291, meaning that the vast majority of the county’s voters (72.6 percent) were not partisan enough to cast a ballot for either party in the primaries.
No one has produced a local voter guide for anyone who plans to vote on Tuesday but has not yet made a decision about which candidates to support.
I have written stories based on four different candidate forums that have been held that should be of some assistance.
In each case, I have included a video to go along with the forum summary.
The first forum was held in Oconee County on Oct. 3 and included the four Board of Education candidates and four of the six candidates for the three legislative races. The story is HERE.
The second forum was held in Athens on Oct. 11 and included five of the six candidates for the three legislative races plus a write-in candidate. The story is HERE.
The third forum was held on Oct. 15 in Athens and included four of the six candidates for the three legislative races. The story is HERE.
A special forum for the seven Watkinsville candidates was held on Oct. 9. The story is HERE.
One quibble in the language, Dr. Becker:
One can hardly call this election the usual moniker of "off year."
2018 is as consequential an election as can be possible.
From national elections on down to local levels.
This year marks a pivot point for ideologies from all points along the spectrum.
The numbers support the interest level. At long last.
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