Turnout: Anecdote & Data

Anecdote:  I voted this morning.   I didn’t vote early, hoping maybe a meteor would strike Earth or something and I wouldn’t have to complete this ballot.  But alas, God decided the world could live another day, and I didn’t have time to put off voting until this afternoon, just in case hellfire is scheduled for lunch instead.

I arrived at my polling place at 7:10.  I left at 8:00.  There was quite a long line that the poll workers did manage to keep moving.  I believe I was voter 405.   This is a precinct that is represented by David Scott, Doug Stoner, and Rob Teilhet.   While Cobb County, it’s not a Republican stronghold.  Democrats were willing to stand in line to vote this morning.

Data:  I’m told that African American turnout for early voting was over 29%, about equal to that of 2008  (Have since been corrected.  Total turnout was 29% in ’08, but early voting turnout was 34%.  Still; not a huge drop off from the intensity of 2008).   If those numbers hold for voting today, then most pollsters models have undersampled Democrats’ voting strength.

This puts the question of a Governor’s race runoff squarely on the table (though I’ll stand by my earlier prediction), as well as puts other close races into the “worth watching” category:  Attorney General, GA-2, and possibly even GA-8.    My gut still tells me that Austin wins by a decent margin in GA-2, but I’ve had a hard time believing GA-2 turns against Bishop if there is average or better Democratic turnout.  As other commenters have posted, it really is a canary in the coal mine.  If Keown wins, begin looking West for the rest of the evening to see how big this wave really is.

Feel free to use the comments section to share any anecdotes or data you may have.


  1. drjay says:

    john barrow was on the corner of abercorn and derenne waving when i was driving to work this morning…i voted last week and thought it was a pretty decent line for early voting, about a 15 minute line…the only other time i have early voted was the 08 prez primary and there was no line at all–but i’m not sure that’s an apples to apples comparison…

  2. BoogDoc7 says:

    I voted at about 7:15 AM at the Houston Mall in Houston County. 15-20 poll booths, all full, and about 5-10 person line. No huge wait, but I can see that growing as it gets later in the day.

    A couple of candidates – Fred Graham and Fenika Miller were out with their signs by the road.

    Sigh. I miss old-school voting booths, with manual switches and the bells.

  3. Jeff says:

    I voted on Sept 21, and I was the only non-poll worker in the room. I’ll try to drop by Leesburg’s precinct this afternoon and get a snapshot. Council meeting at 6p though, and it is typically a tight fit to try to leave work in time to get there.

  4. I voted early – but based on my girlfriend’s report the Chamblee precinct is about on track for normal turnout. It’s one of the few true swing precincts in the state so we’ll see.

  5. SmyrnaSAHM says:

    Charlie, this is a total aside, but based on what you posted about your polling place, there’s a strong likelihood that I’m your City Council representative, and that I’m headed to the same polling place you hit this morning. I’m headed to vote this afternoon after I pick up my preschooler – if you’d like, I can let you know what voter number I am. Hopefully, the lunchtime hellfire will have abated, lest it be exhibited by my preschooler when she sees the snack table for the poll workers that she’s not allowed to access…

    • Charlie says:

      I’m at Argyle Elementary, but even if you’re not, please report what you see.

      I’m still learning my local electeds, but looking forward to meeting you eventually.

      • SmyrnaSAHM says:

        I vote at the Community Center and I will definitely report what I see there. I’ll be there around 1; my husband will be there around 6.

  6. I left the office about 9:15, drove up to Milton and voted and just got back, so I guess I voted around 10:15 or so at Cogburn Woods Elementary School. (Voter registration for my new house didn’t change in time for me to vote in Cobb.) There wasn’t a line, but most of the 15 or so voting machines had someone at them and there was a steady influx of people in and out.

    I voted for 5 Libertarians (Monds, Donovan and Willis plus 2 others), 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans.

  7. aoburns says:

    Voting irregularities in Screven County:

    Voting precincts are down to 1 machine per precinct due to precinct errors in all of the other machines.

  8. ZazaPachulia says:

    I voted this morning and there were lines at my GA-13 polling place as well. Longer lines than I’ve ever seen, although I voted early in 2008.

    I half expected my head to pop off in front of the diebold machine. I can’t believe I voted for a Democrat for Gov., a Democrat for Lt. Gov., and chose Tim Echols for PSC. I even felt pretty good about it (well, I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the Echols vote). The world might be ending.

    On an aside, the influence of Peach Pundit grows…

  9. aoburns says:

    Now that I have time to post more…

    7 precincts in Screven County are down to 1 voting machine. Various issues. Lines are long.

    GA GOP and SOS have been notified. If you are a candidate in a tight race keep an eye on Screven County.

    Judge in charge of voting…
    Debbie Brown (Probate Court Judge)

    I’ve already talked with her.

  10. Gerald says:

    Your analysis is faulty. It is to be expected in Georgia, with a black candidate for U.S. Senate and several black candidates for Congress on the ballot, and a longtime civil rights “get out the vote” apparatus that involves churches, black colleges, black media etc. to be able to get people to vote early. Also, I have to admit that the “fight back against the Tea Party and vote early to support Barack Obama while he cleans up the mess that Bush left behind” ads that frequently run on black radio are extremely effective. (By contrast, the ads for Roy Barnes on black radio are not only ineffective, but offensive and demeaning. They reminded me that there were a ton of reasons why this guy lost to the empty suit Sonny Perdue, and it wasn’t all the state flag.)

    So, just because black candidates are rallying for Obama and for certain important local black candidates don’t mean that white Democrats are going to do the same. Take Sanford Bishop’s district: it has never been one of those 60% or even 50% black districts like the ones in Atlanta. Instead, that district has a clear white majority, and was represented for a long time by a fairly liberal (by Georgia standards) white Democrat who would still be in office today if it hadn’t been for that bounced check scandal, and let’s not forget that Bishop has fended off plenty a GOP challenger in his nearly 20 years in Congress (although often that GOP challenger took the form of a black sacrificial lamb like Dylan Glenn … gee thanks Newt Gingrich for that idiotic and cynical strategy … the Tea Party has done a much better job of getting black GOPers in position to win important races in 2 years than the state or national GOP has in 50).

    So the question is what white Democrats, especially in rural areas, who up until very recently were still electing people like Mark Taylor and Cathy Cox and kept people like Barrow in office even in big GOP years like 2004, are going to do. There is some evidence that they are going to remain loyal i.e. Barbara Boxer’s 8 point lead in California, and more locally Nathan Deal’s inability to crack 50%. However, Sanford Bishop’s giving CBC scholarships to his family members is the sort of thing that may turn white Democrats off.

    • ZazaPachulia says:

      I don’t know how accurate your analysis is, Gerald, but it sounds good to me.

      I listen to “black” radio quite often and you’re right about the ads. Frank Ski just spent his entire morning show (on Georgia’s top-rated radio station, by the way) encouraging people to vote. I think the “Ghetto Grandmothers” Barnes attack ad is effective on radio and I have heard as much from black friends, acquaintances and family members. I too feel that it’s the white democratic vote that will be down and perhaps turn the tide in the close races…

  11. I’m off to go vote in Morgan County (mine and Ray Boyd’s paradise… about half way from Atl, Aug, Ath and Mac… don’t care to call the Big Gov Big Cities home… love them for playtime, though).

    I’ll try to report what I see.

  12. Doug Deal says:


    I assume you mean that the fraction of ballots cast by black voters was 29% in early voting, and not that 29% of black voters turned out for early voting. With that assumption.

    A 5 point drop out of 34% (for early voting) is actually a 1/7th or 14% drop. If a company’s sales were down 14%, wouldn’t that cause panic with investors?

    To put it into perspective, that means that non-black vote went from 66 to 71% in early voting. 66-34 (+32) 71-29 (+42). If one assumes 95% votes for the Democratic candidate, the non-black vote would only have to be 27% D to reach 50%. With the lower number, that same 27% D would only reach 46.7%,

    That’s a 6.6% differential (the 3.3% dip is accompanied by a 3.3% increase for the other side) where there was originally parity. Obama’s margin of victory over McCain was only 7.1%.

  13. NorthGAGOP says:

    I believe most of the polls that were done in Georgia had African American turnout about 23%. If the African American turnout stays at 29%, it could be enough to turn it into a runoff.

  14. chefdavid says:

    I voted last week. According to the local fluffer we had a record number in Dade. 900 early votes and 96 mail in votes. There was a couple who were new to the county in voting and that was it. Usually when I early vote there is nobody in there. I am sure we will go heavily Deal and Cagle. I think they need a none of the above button other than leaving it blank. In a side note the City of Trenton Commission last night voted in favor of Malt Beverage sales in restaurants. Maybe we can get a road show in Dade in the future. I am sure Doug, Nathan, and Tyler would be game.
    I hear a lot of disgust with the choices in the county but the biggest thing I hear is everyone voting no for all the amendments. Tonight will be interesting. And just a thought if there is no run oft what will we talk about until the legislature gets back into session…?

  15. Bill30097 says:

    Here in Sugarloaf/Duluth turnout was moderate at noon. I voted straight Libertarian in the statewide races. Will vot GOP in runoff if any. 57 years old and have never voted for a Demonrat.

  16. Machette says:

    Its just anecdotal but the estimate of African American voters in Bishop’s district may be low – at least from what I saw today – twice. First went to vote at 7:30 but the line was way too long. Usually this precinct is lily-white. I counted 48 African Americans in line ahead of me and only 2 Caucasians. Went back at 2:30 and voted; 20 African Americans and only 1 caucasian voting in the 20 minutes I was there.

  17. slyram says:

    The key in the Bishop race will be moderate White voters in cities; balancing their party interests/concerns with regional interests/concerns. Personnally. I wish the First Lady came down.

  18. View from Brookhaven says:

    No real line when I arrived at my polling place in beautiful Brookhaven at approx. 5:30. Maybe a 2 minute wait for a voting machine…

    Side note: I saw Elena Parent and her husband out waving to rush hour traffic on Peachtree Industrial on my way by.

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