Bulloch County’s voter turnout in Tuesday’s runoff election, which concluded the statewide races for Georgia secretary of state and a Public Service Commission seat, was 22.5 percent, close to the statewide turnout rate.
As for the outcome, a majority of local voters also made the same choices as the majority of voters statewide, favoring the Republican candidates in both contests. For secretary of state, 5,347 Bulloch County voters, or 59.6 percent, chose Republican victor Brad Raffensperger, while 3,623 Bulloch voters, or 40.4 percent, preferred Democratic candidate John Barrow.
Statewide in totals updated through Wednesday afternoon, Raffensperger received 756,084 votes, or 52 percent, while Barrow garnered 698,849 votes, or 48 percent. Although a federal court order requires Georgia election officials to count any remaining mailed absentee ballots returned by Friday, these would be insufficient to change the outcome of the race, and Barrow conceded Wednesday.
Statewide voter turnout for this contest rounds to 22.7 percent, from the election results database on the website of interim Secretary of State Robyn A. Crittenden. Appointed by outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal after Gov.-elect Brian Kemp resigned as secretary of state last month, Crittenden will lead the department until Raffensperger takes the oath of office in January.
In the race for the District 3 seat on the Public Service Commission, 5,627 Bulloch County voters, or 63.5 percent, chose Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton, while 3,233 Bulloch voters, or 36.5 percent, preferred Democratic challenger Lindy Miller. Statewide, Eaton collected 749,872 votes, or 51.8 percent, to Miller’s 697,037 votes, or 48.2 percent.
Of the 8,985 attempted Bulloch County ballots tallied on election night, 2,608 were cast in-person during last week’s five days of early voting. But more local voters, 5,913, cast their ballots at Bulloch’s 16 traditional precinct polling places Tuesday. As of Tuesday, 464 voters had returned paper absentee ballots.
Bulloch County Elections Supervisor Patricia Lanier Jones had previously reported that 735 absentee ballots were mailed out. So 271 apparently remained unreturned as of Tuesday night.
The 8,985 participating voters through Tuesday amounted to 22.5 percent of Bulloch County’s 39,983 registered voters. Turnout for the runoff was far lower than the 59.4 percent Bulloch County voter participation and 61.4 percent statewide participation levels reached in the Nov. 6 general election.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.