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Election turnout slow in Dougherty, Lee

ALBANY, Ga. -- Turnout in Dougherty and Lee counties has been light and appears to be somewhat in line with predictions that about a quarter of the eligible voters in Georgia will go to the polls.

By 1 p.m., Dougherty County Supervisor of Elections Ginger Nickerson said that 12.25 percent of the county's registered voters had voted.

Precincts are calling in with hourly updates.

She said she wasn't sure how the turnout would compare to previous years, but that in the mid-term presidential election of 2006, more than 1,900 voters cast early ballots. This year, more than 1,500 Dougherty residents voted in the 45-day early period.

In Lee County, elections officials said just under 10 percent of eligible voters has cast ballots by 1 p.m.

With more than 16,400 voters, about 1,600 had gone to the polls by that time, election officials said, placing the turnout at the halfway point at 10 percent.

The heaviest turnout was in the First Baptist Church of Albany precinct, where 400 voters had gone to the polls by 1 p.m., just over 12 percent of eligible voters in that precinct. That precinct is in the Palmyra District, where Lee County Commission Chairman Ed Duffy is being challenged by Lester Leggette, the only locally contested race on the ballots.

Officials were expecting the heaviest voter turnout to come between 5 p.m. and the closing of the polls at 7 p.m. Elections Supervisor Veronia Johnson said in the last mid-presidential term election, which was in 2006, about 3,300 Lee County voters went to the polls. She said this election could possibly exceed that turnout.

In 2006, about 21 percent of Georgians went to the polls in an election that included governor. In 2008, the turnout was 22 percent.