Traffic appeared light at several polling places this morning as residents cast ballots in local elections.
The exception appeared to be in Dunwoody, where there are competitive races for three seats on City Council. There, morning voting was “brisker than I thought it would be,” said Noel Young, poll manager at Dunwoody Library.
In addition to the council races in Dunwoody, there are contested races for mayor and five City Council seats in Sandy Springs and for Atlanta City Council and school board seats in Buckhead.
Fred DeVaughn, poll manager at the Hammond Park Community Center in Sandy Springs, reported only about 100 people had come in to vote by 11:30 a.m.
“It’s not going to be a big turnout, but it’s an important election,” DeVaughn said. “It has not been a big rush, but constant all day.”
DeVaughn said low turnout is typical for municipal elections.
“Every election Sandy Springs has had, I’ve been right here,” said DeVaughn, who’s worked at the same polling place since the city incorporated in 2005. “On a non-presidential election, that [turnout] is average.”
Sandy Springs resident Harry Nolan said he would like to have seen more of his neighbors out at the polls.
“This city is the most important governmental body in the whole country for us,” Nolan said. “I’m frankly appalled turnout is as low as it is.”
In Dunwoody, Young said 210 people had voted during the first four hours the poll was open. Young said he was only expecting about 10 percent of the precinct’s 2,300 registered voters to show up all day.
“At the rate we’re going now it looks like we’re going to far exceed that,” Young said.
In Buckhead, races for the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Board of Education were not a big draw for voters.
At Peachtree Presbyterian Church, poll manager John Packman reported 117 people had voted by noon.
“That’s very light,” he said.
Assistant Poll Manager Judie Wirtz thought recent controversy with Atlanta Public Schools might have garnered more interest in the school board elections this year. “You’d think the school board problems would have people turning out,” Wirtz said.
But Wirtz believes some of the low numbers on Election Day might be attributed to the number of people who take advantage of early voting.
“I think that has definitely changed the whole landscape,” Wirtz said.
One Buckhead polling place, located at First Presbyterian Church, 1328 Peachtree Street, opened 28 minutes late and election officials were seeking permission to keep it open until 8:28 p.m., District 6 Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan said in an e-mail.