Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Knox County Turnout Light?

I just returned from working the main South Knoxville polling place (South-Doyle High School) for Judge Bill Swann, and it appears from all indications that voting turnout is extremely light today. The weather can't be blamed- it was gorgeous this evening - and the other pollworkers (including school board candidate Jim McClain, David Kiger's identical twin Roger, and write-in candidate Peggy Loflin) were receiving reports from other polling places that indicate low turnout across the board.

Normally, I would think that such a scenario presents trouble for incumbents, but I'm not sure that is the case here. In particular, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale appears safe, as Steve Hall needed a strong showing in the heavily Republican precincts of South Knoxville to pull the upset. It probably didn't help that Ragsdale had an effective pollworker at South-Doyle, while Steve Hall had no one representing his interests. Perhaps someone had been present earlier in the day, but I was there for the big after work rush, and no Hall staff were mingling with the crowd when it counted.

Early reports also showed a high number of write-ins. In Sequoyah Hills, for instance, there were reports of 45% of the ballots being cast as paper ballots. South-Doyle's numbers were a bit lower than that, but they were still quite high. That being the case, it may be a while until we know the winners - even with a low turnout.

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