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Elections 2014: Low Turnout Expected for July 22 Runoffs

Political pundits expect turnout to be low next week for runoff elections across Georgia, particularly the race for state schools superintendent.

Political pundits expect turnout to be low next week for runoff elections across Georgia, particularly the race for state schools superintendent. File|Patch
Political pundits expect turnout to be low next week for runoff elections across Georgia, particularly the race for state schools superintendent. File|Patch

Political pundits expect turnout to be low next week for runoff elections across the state, particularly the race for state schools superintendent.

One of the most high-profile races on the ballot next week will decide the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, which pits Jack Kingston against David Perdue.

There are just over 5 million registered voters in Georgia. But poll watchers tell WABE they expect only the most committed of Georgia’s 5 million registered voters to take part in next week’s runoffs.

Some local officials predict voter turnout will be around 10 percent for next Tuesday’s runoff. The Republican Senate matchup may draw some out to the polls. But Emory political science professor Andra Gillespie says the state superintendent race won’t draw voters.

Gillespie says a compelling educational issue or heavy campaigning by the four candidates could boost interest. The contenders are: Democrats Alisha T. Morgan and Valarie Wilson, and Republicans Mike Buck and Richard L. ("Billy") Woods.

One reason for the low interest in state superintendent, Gillespie says, could be that voters don’t really know what the job involves.

“You know what the big offices are and what they do, but you don’t think about a lot of the smaller offices,” Gillespie says. “So, when you think about state school superintendents or when you think about insurance commissioners and labor commissioners, those are typically not the offices that we tend to talk a lot about in Civics class.”

Some areas have early voting open now. The last day to vote in the state’s runoff is Tuesday, July 22. You can go to 'My Voter Page' at http://mvp.sos.ga.gov/ to get your questions answered about the election.

Mr. B July 15, 2014 at 03:02 PM
Mike Buck seems to be the most qualified from an experience view. 31 years as teacher, principal, superintendent, and Dept of Education. Valerie Wilson has never been in a classroom as a teacher so has no real world experience with educating children. She supports education from the Federal level versus the state level and that has been a disaster since the Carter years. Same with Alisha Morgan. No experience with children, just a career politician looking for another government job. Although Billy Woods served as a teacher and principal, he left education for a private sector job. He also seems to lean toward the break up of state control of education and pass it to smaller locations such as counties or even cities. Although local control is a good thing, with no control at the state level, education standards could be destroyed.
David Brown July 15, 2014 at 03:10 PM
Thanks for your opinion Mr. B. One correction however. Ms. Wilson's first name is actually Valarie.
Mr. B July 15, 2014 at 08:49 PM
Sorry for the misspelling. I was just pointing out there is one educator and three politicians running for the position. Easy choice for me to make.
Octo Slash July 16, 2014 at 08:12 AM
>>> 10% turnout? <<< That figures. When it comes to politics, people bitch and moan and whine and opine and yell at each other and behave generally like jerks most of the time. But when it comes time to actually do something to make things better, most people are too busy watching Golden Girls reruns to bother getting off the sofa.

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