Turnout historically low

Last updated: October 09. 2013 12:01AM - 813 Views
Kevin Spradlin Richmond County Daily Journal



Kevin Spradlin | Richmond County Daily JournalDobbins Heights resident Ruby Lyles signs in to vote with Kendra Faries, chief election judge at the First United Methodist Church precinct in Hamlet. Faries was joined by fellow election judges Nan Bates and Glenda Hughes.
Kevin Spradlin | Richmond County Daily JournalDobbins Heights resident Ruby Lyles signs in to vote with Kendra Faries, chief election judge at the First United Methodist Church precinct in Hamlet. Faries was joined by fellow election judges Nan Bates and Glenda Hughes.
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DOBBINS HEIGHTS — On a day with a historically low voter turnout, Angeline K. David won another four-year term to the Dobbins Heights City Council.


The other seat up for grabs is too close to call. An unofficial vote count indicated David earned 65 votes. Challenger Tyre’ L. Holloway tallied 35 votes and incumbent Thomas D. White garnered 29 votes.


In the run-off election method approved in the Dobbins Heights charter, the number of votes for either White or Holloway failed to earn at least a majority, which was set at 38. That means, pending certification by the Richmond County Board of Elections on Tuesday, there could be a run-off election on Nov. 5 for the second council seat between White and Holloway.


In addition, there are three provisional ballots that won’t be opened and presented for inspection to the board until Tuesday. If all three votes are approved by the board and favor Holloway, he would win the second seat outright.


A total of 75 residents cast their votes. Forty-one did so in early voting and another 34 voters did so on Tuesday. The town has approximately 866 people. Rougly three-quarters — 604 — are registered to vote but only 75 cast ballots, or merely 12.4 percent of registered voters.


“I expected it to be low but not this low,” said Connie Kelly, director of elections, about the low turnout. “This has got to be a record.”


David, who earned another four years on the council, was disappointed with voter turnout.


“I wish I could have went out and picked everyone of ‘em up” and taken them to vote, she said. “This is the lowest turnout we’ve ever had.”


David said in the months since she filed for re-election in July, there wasn’t any resounding issues that voters indicated they wanted addressed. David said one potential voter asked why anyone should vote, noting that “there’s nothing going on” in town.


The only voting precinct for the town of Dobbins Heights is actually in Hamlet, at the First United Methodist Church on Caroline Street. David indicated the town might want to consider amending its charter in order to get a polling place inside town limits.


Dobbins Heights is the only jurisdiction within Richmond County that has the run-off election method. The rest of the towns, and the county, follows the plurality method. By that approach, candidates need only to earn a majority of votes or, in this case, place first and second in the overall tally. There is no minimum number of votes needed as established by the run-off method used by Dobbins Heights.


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