High voter turnout expected Tuesday

Published 12:02 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

Probate Judge Ben Bowden believes voter turnout in Tuesday’s general election could surpass 50 percent.

At the end of Friday’s voter registration deadline, there had been 171 people added to the voter rolls during the last 10 days, bringing a total of 21,651 people eligible to vote Nov. 2.

Bowden said he expects upwards of 50 percent of those to cast a ballot.

“I would definitely expect greater than 30 percent of those,” Bowden said. “It’s hard for me to gauge, because I’ve never been through a general election as probate judge.

“The governor’s race has cooled off a bit, it seems to me, and I think that will affect the number,” he said. “Still, I would put turnout at 50 percent or greater.”

Another draw to the polls is the number of local races on the ballot, he said.

“The district attorney’s race is very heated,” he said. “Then we have Seth (Hammett’s House District 92) seat race as well. That is a tight race, and with those two (races), I would expect a turnout of 50 percent or greater because of the civic-minded people in Covington County.”

Also as of Friday, Circuit Clerk Roger Powell said more than 500 county residents had submitted applications for absentee ballots.

“Thursday afternoon, there were 498,” he said. “ We’re still taking emergency ballots through Monday, so we’re definitely going to be above 500 this election cycle.”

Powell said the number of those voting by absentee ballot has steadily progressed over the years.

“I did some checking and two years ago in the presidential election we had our highest total ever – more than 1,000,” he said. “Four years ago in 2006, we had 413, and four years before that there were 350.”

Powell said, “There are some out there with ballots, and I’d like to remind them that (the ballots) have to be hand delivered by the voter no later than Monday at 5 p.m. or by U.S. mail by noon on Election Day to be counted.”