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Pike County voters came out in droves for historic election

Pike County voters beat a steady path to the polls on Tuesday, leading to what is likely a record voter turnout on a historic election day.

Approximately 71 percent of Pike County’s nearly 20,000 registered voters cast a ballot — a total that could be the county’s highest voter turnout ever.

“That is one of the highest we’ve ever had,” said Pike County Probate Bill Stone. “I certainly can’t can’t remember any higher than that.”

Stone said he will compare Tuesday’s vote totals to other county general elections later this week, but he said the figure stands a good chance of being a record turnout.

All across Pike County, poll workers reported turnouts higher than any they had seen before.

At the Academy Street polling place in Troy, poll worker Iola P. Byrd said voters were lined up waiting outside the door before the polls even opened.

“They were lined up outside the door at 7 this morning,” Byrd said. “We had to get things going quick.”

By 4:30 p.m., 580 voters had come out to the polls in Brundidge.

“It’s bigger than what we have had, and we still have two hours to go,” said Lance Tatum, an election inspector.

At first Baptist Church in Troy, 1,192 people had voted by 6 p.m., nearly 80 percent of the registered voters in the precinct.

“We’re going to get to 1,200 votes. We’ve still got an hour to go,” said poll worker Frank Sadler.

Normally, Sadler said the precinct sees only 500 to 600 voters.

Pike County voters cast 13,945 ballots in Tuesday’s general election. There are 19,630 registered voters in the county.

The majority of Pike County voters supported Republican John McCain in the Presidential over Democrat Barack Obama, who went on to win the electoral vote nationwide.

McCain received 7,981 votes, or 57 percent, and Obama received 5,856 votes, or 42 percent.

McCain won the state of Alabama’s electoral over Obama 60 percent to 40 percent.

An Associated Press exit poll found the vast majority of Alabama voters were worried about the direction of the economy, and roughly half cited the issue as their top priority — a sentiment echoed by many Pike County voters.

Wendy Lee of Troy said the most important thing on her mind Tuesday was the economy.

“(I was) working at Barnhill’s, and one day they just closed the doors and it’s because the economy is so bad,” said Wendy Lee. “It’s just the beginning.”

Other voters said civic duty brought them to the polls.

“I vote every election. It’s important so you can have your say,” said Billy Dixon, of Troy.