By Amy Wenk
Fewer residents voted in Sandy Springs’ second election than did in its first.
Less than 17 percent of the about 52,000 registered voters came out on Nov. 3 to cast their ballot for mayor and city council. In 2005, the same race brought 26 percent of the approximately 48,000 registered voters.
The city pays Fulton County around $400,000 to run its election but is considering holding its own in coming years.
The low turnout this year made a slow day for some poll workers at the city’s 36 precincts.
Resident Constance Pappis, poll manager for the North Springs Charter High School precinct, paced the narrow corridor around 1 p.m., waiting for voters to arrive. About 35 people had placed their ballots up until that point.
“It’s a shame,” Pappis said. “They are just dragging in, maybe one every hour.”
The final tally was no better. Just 100 (3.8 percent) of the 2,629 registered voters that were assigned to the high school venue participated in the election.
The situation at other precincts was similar. The gymnasium at Hammond Park saw 307 voters (13 percent) out of the 2,341 registered. “It’s been slow,” said poll manager Marian Lynch.
Involved citizen Bill Gannon said the turnout reflected that residents are content with city leadership.
“People knew Eva was going to win,” said Gannon, a volunteer during the 2005 election. “They were satisfied with their incumbents.”
Others blamed the low turnout on uninformed voters.
“We’ve had a few people who thought they were voting for the city [of Atlanta] mayor,” Pappis said.
“It hasn’t been in the news,” said resident and poll worker Joe Gilliom. “Unless you are involved in the community, you weren’t aware.”
Whatever the reason, the small turnout meant no lines and a pleasant experience for many residents.
“It took longer to sign in than it did to vote,” said Jane Apple, who voted at North Springs United Methodist Church with her husband Harvey.