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Gregg County voter turnout down slightly from 2008

By Christina Lane
Nov. 6, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Fewer people voted in the 2012 general election in Gregg County than in 2008 - slightly.

In the 2012 election, 41,366 voters cast ballots, comprising 60.68 percent of the county's total registered voters. That compared to 43,233 votes cast in 2008, which accounted for 60.21 percent of the county's registered voters at that time.

"It helped tremendously that 30,000 people voted early, otherwise we would have had all those calls and all those long lines at the polling places," Gregg County Elections Administrator Kathryn Nealy said. "When you get our precinct by precinct you'll see one of our biggest polls had about 800 voters so they ran maybe between 400-800 per polling place which is a good turnout but would have been much higher if we hadn't had such a really good response to early. So kudos to our voters for voting early, it helped us, it helped them."

There were 31,602 people who voted early this year. The 2008 election drew 32,290 early votes.

Nealy noted this year's election did not have any local races left to decide in Gregg County, which could somewhat account for the smaller early turnout this year.

On Election Day, however, many residents reported shorter than expected lines.

"I was worried that I would be late too work, but this was very smooth," said Krystal Grubbs, who stopped by the Greggton Community Center to vote on her way to work at Posados. "It was probably quick because they were prepared and because so many people have already voted."

Roberta and Jim Sutton chose to vote on election day for different reasons. Roberta Sutton said she didn't want to wait in the long lines for "early voting" and so she waited until Tuesday.

Jim Sutton said he voted Tuesday, "to wait and see what their (both major political parties) lies would be," but Roberta Sutton said the lines were too long during early voting.

Roberta Sutton was delighted with the lack of lines.

"This is the fastest I have ever voted," Roberta Sutton said.

Jim Sutton said the number of early voters made election day traffic feel light.

"I credit it to the 46 percent that voted early. They have also been efficient. This is the first time I have used this new system, but it seems to move voters quickly," Jim Sutton said.

In Harrison County, 29,513 voters cast ballots this year. That was slightly more than the total 27,962 people who cast votes in the 2008 election.

In Upshur County, early voting totals were less than in 2008. There were 7,326 ballots cast at the end of early voting this year, compared with 8,151 early votes in 2008. With all precincts reporting, the county showed 16,369 votes cast, accounting for 46.67 percent of the county's registered voters. There were 15,433 votes cast in the 2008 election, accounting for 51.71 percent of the county's registered voters that year.

In Rusk County, 11,141 early ballots were cast. That was barely more than 36 percent of that county's 30,880 registered voters. It also eclipsed the 9.2 percent level achieved in 2008 early voting there.

On Tuesday night, Rusk County reported 18,713 ballots cast by 10:45 p.m., which accounted for 60.6 percent of the county's registered voters. In 2008, there were 18,925 ballots cast in the county, accounting for 59 percent of the county's registered voters.



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