Rick Barron, director of Fulton County Registration and Elections, said he anticipates turnout to be similar to the July 2010 primary, based on data from the last election that included the gubernatorial race. Four years ago 19.1 percent of Fulton voters hit the polls, 6 percent lower than predicted by Barron’s predecessor, Barry Garner. In July 2006, during the previous gubernatorial primary, 22.1 percent of Fulton registered voters cast ballots.
With the high-profile campaigns, “you would think that” turnout would be higher, Barron said of this year’s primary. When asked for a prediction on voter turnout percentage, he declined.
“It’s so hard to say,” Barron said. “I really wouldn’t venture to guess on that.”
Early voting in the county started April 28 and ends Friday. It opened seven locations for early voting April 28 through May 5 and expanded it to 19 total polling stations May 5 through 16. In his visits to some of those sites each of the last two weeks, Barron said he was disappointed at the low turnout.
“I did notice a lack of candidate signs at those polling locations, which kind of surprised me,” he said. “I’m unsure how much they’re campaigning at the 19 [early voting] polling sites around the county.”
As of Monday at 7:30 a.m., 6,039 had voted early in Fulton, according to the county’s website.
Barron said he is sure Fulton is ready for Tuesday’s primary.
“I’m confident,” he said. “Things have been running smoothly during early voting.”
Barron also encouraged residents to take advantage of early voting.
“I just encourage people to vote early,” he said. “It will avoid lines easier on Election Day. They may run into lines if they wait and they have to vote in their precinct, but during early voting you can vote anywhere."