Voter turnout high in county and state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 9, 2000

Staff Writer

Predictions proved to be true on election day.

Election officials were forecasting a high turnout and that is what happened.

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In Pike County, 57 percent of registered voters ­ 10,589 of 18,567 ­ steadily streamed into the polling places on Tuesday.

For the June primaries, only about 25 percent of Pike County’s registered voters went to the polls and Pike County Probate Judge Bill Stone was hoping that number would at least double and it did.

Before the election, Stone said he would "feel a lot better about voting if it would double to 50 percent." He added, 65 percent would be better.

"I’m very pleased with 57 percent voter turnout, although others had estimated 65 percent," Stone said. "I thought that would be a little high for Pike County."

Stone said his 50-percent estimate was "a little low" which was good news to him.

"Voting was heavy in the early hours, in spite of the rain, and it tended to become more average by late morning," Stone said of those who lined up at the polls before going to work.

Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett was predicting 65 percent statewide turnout and the actual numbers exceeded those expectations.

Bennett said preliminary figures indicate 1.6 million of Alabama’s 2.4 million registered voters cast ballots, for a 67 percent turnout. Translated, that means about two-thirds of Alabama voters turned out for an election that has had many sitting on the edge of their seats.

Alabama turnout was actually higher than the 51 percent across the nation.

But, that’s not unusual, Bennett said, adding Alabama tends to have higher turnout in presidential elections than the national average.

The highest percentage Alabama has ever reported was 76 percent in 1992.

Bennett said several factors kept Tuesday’s turnout from being higher, including long waits at some polling places and rain and bad weather in some parts of the state.

Some polling places across the state were forced to remain open as long as two hours longer in order to accommodate everyone who was in line at closing time.