MOULTRIE — The Colquitt County voter registrar’s office is seeing a groundswell of new voter registrations so far this year, but it doesn’t appear those new voters, or anyone else for that matter, are excited about the Senate runoff race.

In last week’s advance voting, only 112 voters had cast ballots through 4 p.m. Friday in the runoff between Democratic senatorial candidates Vernon Jones and Jim Martin, registrar Paula McCollough said. Nineteen absentee ballots also had been received as of Friday, and those ballots can come into her office through Tuesday.

“That’s a low turnout compared to what it normally is,” she said. “Of course, there’s only one thing on the ballot.”

All Colquitt County polls will be open from 7 a.m.- 7 p.m. Monday for the runoff election, whose winner will face incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Registered voters who either cast a Democratic ballot or did not vote July 15 are eligible to vote Tuesday.

McCollough has seen an increase in voter registrations this year.

About 500 new voters had registered prior to the July primary, she said. And she had a stack of dozens of new registrations that cannot be completed until after the runoff race.

McCollough attributes the interest in registering to the presidential race.

“I think because of (presidential candidate Barack) Obama, but I’m not sure,” she said. “I know there are going to be tons more registrations before then.”

She anticipates a much different response to the advance voting period Nov. 27-Oct. 31, when she will have 10 voting machines available compared to the two machines — the minimum allowed at a precinct — that were online for the runoff election.

“It’s going to be wild,” McCollough said. “If people will go ahead and register and get a photo ID ahead of that it will save them a lot of trouble.”

Statewide estimates for voter turnout in the Tuesday election is 4 to 5 percent, and that looks to be a good guess for how many voters in Colquitt County will cast ballots, Probate Judge Wes Lewis said. Counties where there are local countywide runoff races could see considerably more voters at the polls.

“Just being a statewide Democratic party runoff, I think it will be in line with statewide turnout,” Lewis said. “If we had 11.5 percent Tuesday (July 15), it looks like we’re on course to have half of that.”

Due to the low expected turnout Lewis plans to have minimal staffing and two voting machines at each precinct with the exception of Moultrie and Shaw, where there will be three.

“It’s probably going to cost — by the time you factor in your workers, your ballots, your supplies — it’s going to run $10,000,” he said.

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