Voter turnout in county is average


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 at 4:16 p.m.

Though the Supervisor of Elections had hoped for a 50 percent turnout, closer to 40 percent of Alachua County voters took to the polls Tuesday to cast their votes in an election that included the presidential preference primary and a few Gainesville City Commission seats.

Statewide, turnout was estimated at 30 percent, with about 3 million voters casting ballots — 1.4 million Democrats and 1.6 million Republicans. That was well up from the approximately 20 percent who cast ballots in the 2000 and 2004 presidential primaries, which were held after the nominees had accumulated enough delegates to secure their nominations.

Voter turnout for presidential primaries in Florida has averaged 38 percent since 1972, when the all-time record of 58 percent was set.

In Alachua County, the approximately 39 percent voter turnout was considerably better than the turnout in the gubernatorial primary in 2006, which drew only about 25 percent of voters at the polls.

About 6 percent of Alachua County voters chose to vote early in this month’s election, which was higher than voting officials expected.

“We had about 9,000 people vote early,” said Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter. “That was a lot more than for the gubernatorial primary. We had about 4,500 for that one.”

Problems at two precincts — precinct 27 at the Thelma Boltin Center and precinct 29 at the R.T. Schafer Lodge — delayed the tallying of votes Tuesday. Both precincts were unable to upload their results to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Around 10 p.m., those results were hand-delivered to the main office to be uploaded, though Carpenter was unsure what caused the problem.

“We won’t know until we get a chance to get in there and look at it,” she said.

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