Elections Office Expecting Lower Voter Turnout in Runoff, hoping Issues Bring in More Voters

SAVANNAH, GA –  Next week will be the last chance for early voting in the city of Savannah runoff election. Savannah’s last archived municipal runoff election in 2011 recorded less than 30% voter turnout. This year, election officials as well as early voters hope issues can bring more of a majority to the polls.

Chatham County election numbers show however, at the local level, Savannah voter turnout is small. This year was proof as less than 38% of registered voters cast their ballots in the general election.

“No excuses, no reason to not do this, they need to come out and vote,” says early runoff voter Lottie Stewart.

In the last general election for Mayor, Savannah polling places saw less than one third of the electorate come out to vote. With more than six thousand fewer registered voters this election cycle, exactly 37.6% of total registered voters were counted by the board of elections as casting ballots in 2015.

Now that early voting has opened up for the December runoff, it is a similar picture on the runoff election ballot box as voters had four years ag, but election officials are hoping for a different voter outcome.

“People’s minds may be on holiday shopping and thing like that, we’re hoping that they’re going to take a few minutes to refocus and come back out and vote because it’s really important,” says Chatham county board of elections chairman Tom Mahoney III.

News 3 looked over past election turnouts with the elections chairman to find more of the Savannah electorate voted in the 2014 national and state elections than this years local elections by double digits. The board of elections recorded more than 51% of registered voters voted in 2014, that’s nearly 14% higher than in 2015.

“I think people have gotten to the point that they’re complacent, I’m hoping that this has woken people up. I’m hoping that the current crime rate, the current problems the city is facing is encouraging people to come out and make a difference,” says Stewart who has called Savannah home all of her life.

For Stewart, she believes residents have no right to complain if they choose to not go to the polls either next week or on December 1st. Once polls open back up on the 23rd until the 25th, she urges voters to vote the person they feel best fits the needs of that voter. She also says going to vote early could most likely be faster than a general voter might think.

“Our daughter had told us that she got in and out quickly and we got here and we got out like I said less than five minutes.”

Polls will open back up Monday at the Eisenhower driver office from 8 AM until 7 PM. For downtown residents or people that work downtown the civic center will open Monday as well from 9 AM until 4 PM Monday through Wednesday.

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