Effingham County’s voting precincts are scattered across 479.5 square miles, flung from Meldrim Baptist Church to the Elam Egypt Baptist Church to the Clyo Community Center and nearly two dozen places in between.
And by all indications, the turnout Tuesday — more than 14,000 Effingham citizens voted in person — was handled with aplomb.
Elections officials were swamped last week, as the bulk of the 6,307 voters who took part in early and advanced voting queued up outside the registrars’ office, all while office staff and volunteers handled dozens if not hundreds of calls each day on where do I vote, where am I registered, etc.
In all, 20,392 ballots were cast for this year’s election. Four years ago, there were 16,098 votes cast in Effingham for the presidential election. This year, there were 20,341 votes for president and one candidate nearly got as many Effingham votes as they were for all the candidates combined in the 2004 presidential race.
Their work isn’t done yet — a runoff will be held Dec. 2 for two local races and for a few statewide races, most notably the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Saxby Chambliss and being challenged by Jim Martin. Turnouts for runoffs are notoriously low, though the two local races may spur more voters to return to the polls than usually would for a second round of a general election. Advance voting will begin soon for the runoff.
The poll workers, almost all volunteers, and the elections crew need to be thanked for the long hours they put in to try to make things run smoothly on Tuesday.