Polk turnout strong at 53 percent

Published 12:48 pm Thursday, November 4, 2010

More than half of Polk County voters turned out for this election, with high early voting totals and some lines encountered Tuesday at the polls.

Polk County recorded votes from 52.8 percent of its registered voters, which is just over 100 more voters than the county saw in the last non-presidential election, held in 2006.

Including early voting and absentee votes, the total of votes cast Tuesday in Polk County was 7,891, according to unofficial results. The 2006 total was 7,788.

Voter turnout for the last presidential election in 2008 was a record high for Polk County at more than 70 percent, or 10,790 votes cast.

For this election, 3,535 votes were cast on Tuesday, 4,049 were cast early at one-stop voting locations and 307 were cast through absentee ballots.

Many people predicted that with such a high early vote turnout in the county 27 percent of registered voters fewer voters would turn out to vote on election day than in previous years.

But lines were long at some polling places Tuesday. Some Tryon voters did not get to vote until after 8 p.m. because there was a line at the Harmon Field cabin when the polls were supposed to close at 7:30 p.m. Anyone in line by the closing time is allowed to vote.

This election saw a fair amount of straight party voting at 2,827 straight party tickets cast. Of the total of straight party tickets, 1,527 or 54 percent of those were for Democrats, 1,262 or 45 percent were for Republicans and 38 or 1 percent were for Libertarian candidates, according to the unofficial election results.

Polk County continues to have more registered Republicans than any other party, although unaffiliated voters have grown substantially over the last few years.

Polk County currently has 5,332 registered Republicans, 4,923 registered Democrats, 4,661 registered as unaffiliated and 18 Libertarians, according to the Polk County Board of Elections Office.

The results of this years election will not be official until the Polk County Board of Elections does its canvassing of the votes, which is scheduled for next Friday, Nov. 12.