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Polk County shatters turnout record for primary after early voting alone

Polk County residents have turned out in record numbers so far to vote in this primary election, and most of them have voted in the Democratic Primary.

The county elections office says it recorded 2,052 votes through the early voting, which&bsp; ended on Saturday, and through the absentee ballots received so far. Even before today&squo;s votes at the polls are added in, the county has already seen a record turnout for a primary, according to election officials.

Polk County recorded 1,664 early votes at the elections office in Columbus and 262 votes at Green Creek, a new early voting location this year. There have also been 126 absentee ballots returned so far.

According to the elections office, far more Polk residents cast ballots in the Democratic primary, most likely due to the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In early voting, 1,368 have voted in the Democratic primary and 558 voted in the Republican primary. In absentee ballots returned so far, 95 have voted Democrat and 31 Republican.

This year&squo;s early voting totals far exceed the total voting of the last presidential primary in 2004, which saw approximately 1,640 total votes. The turnout for this year&squo;s primary could come close to the turnout normally seen for a general election, depending on today&squo;s turnout. Normally, a general election in Polk County draws between 6,000 and 7,000 voters.

Polls opened this morning at 6:30 a.m. and will remain open today until 7:30 p.m.

Polk County Board of Elections Director Dale Edwards says she&squo;s never seen such a big turnout for early voting in a primary and she is expecting a big turnout today as well.

Polk County has 56 volunteers working the polls. The volunteers were ready this morning at the polling places at 6 a.m.