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Nov. 2 – Looks like only 6.07% of City’s registered voters went to the polls early in Savannah Municipal Elections

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

November 2, 2015 – UPDATED 3:50 p.m. - Early voting closed for the City of Savannah and Chatham County on Friday, and according to the Board of Registrars Supervisor, Sandra Williams, only 4,013 of the eligible registered voters in the City of Savannah voted early as of this morning.  However, more absentee ballots may arrive in the mail or be delivered in person today and Tuesday. 

There are currently 66,063 registered voters in the City of Savannah, which means only 6.07 % voted early. It also means that the race for Mayor and Aldermen posts are still very fluid heading into Tuesday’s elections.

There was a total of 4,404 early votes cast across the County, indicating there was very little early voting in the Pooler, Garden City or Tybee elections which are also set for tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 3. The polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Last year, with a Governor’s race, U.S. Senate race and Congressional election, 17,697 of Savannah’s approximately 66,000 registered voters voted early.

But,  a more relevant comparison would be to look back at the November 2011 Municipal election. There 3,834 votes cast early - either in person or by absentee ballot mailed in - for that race.  At that time, there were 66,751 registered voters in the city.  Therefore, there was a 5.74% early voting turnout. 

While this year's early voting is up slightly, it's still a low percentage of those eligible to vote.  And this year, there are far more candidates challenging the total of nine City Council seats, including for Mayor.

In 2011, the total vote ended up at 21,922, or a 32.8% turnout.  There were 25 total candidates, and Alderman Tony Thomas in District 6 was unopposed. 

Votes are tallied in four buckets:  cast on election day; Absentees in Person (Early Voting and Absentee Ballots Dropped off at Board of Registrars. termed 'AIPS'; Absentee Ballots mailed in, called 'AIBS', and Provisional Ballots.  The latter are contested ballots or where a voter insists they are registered, but can not be found on the lists.  They are allowed to vote, and the Board of Registrars then researches their case.  Once it is resolved, it is called a Provisional Ballot.  Absentee ballots, even by mail, must be received by 7:00 p.m. of election night at the Board of Registrars. 


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