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franklin county times

Voter turnout higher than expected

By Staff
Franklin County's election day got off to a rocky start with voter turn out yesterday, but voters cast their votes late in the day to recover.
Some polling officials felt that the lack of local races contributed to the voter's slow start at the polls.
The Sheriff and Probate Judge positions were the only two local seats up for grabs in the election. Polling officials feel this was a major contributor to the local voters' slow start in getting to the polls.
"We only had two local races, and people weren't motivated to get out and vote," poll worker Titus Stockton said.
Three precincts in Franklin County reported lower than usual voter turn out by mid-afternoon yesterday.
However, voters went to the polls late making the voter turn out about average for a statewide election, Martha Mashburn, administrative assistant for the county commission, said.
"We have had less voters than usual but still had a good turn out here," Jean Hallmark, a poll worker in Tharptown, said.
On average, 65 percent of Franklin County voters go to the polls during statewide elections, Gene Graham, county commissioner, District 2, said.
The majority of those who voted did so because they felt it was their civic obligation to cast their ballots. Some went with their parents to vote as child, teaching them the importance of voting at an early age.
"I never miss voting," Wanda Myrick Upchurch said. "I have always voted because I was taught to vote as a child."
Upchurch said that she followed her father's lead by taking her son as a child to the polls with her, and he is now a loyal voter.
Voting is one of our freedoms that soldiers have died to preserve. If we don't vote, we are taking those freedoms for granted, Upchurch said.
Election officials said there are many reasons that people give for not voting. Some say that their vote won't count, or they think that their party will automatically win regardless of voter turnout.
In some cases, citizens are just simply uninformed about who's running, and when the elections are being held.
"I talked to some people today who did not know today was an election day," Rebecca Green Thomason, attorney, said. "Then they asked me if it was a presidential election."
In all, 7807 votes were cast in the county's 25 precincts yesterday.