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Athens County voters turn out for local, not primary, elections

Athens County voters proved this Super Tuesday that local government takes precedence over President Barack Obama’s possible contenders in the 2012 presidential election.

About 22 percent of the about 48,200 registered voters showed up at the polls Tuesday — more than last year’s primary election when 7 percent of the 29,100 registered voters came out, according to the Athens County Board of Elections.

The 2008 presidential primary brought out 46 percent of the about 41,600 registered voters in the county when both Republican and Democrat nominations were up for grabs, according to the board.

This primary, Democrat voters greatly outnumbered Republicans with about 7,200 and about 3,200, respectively, according to the board.

At about 12 p.m. Tuesday, Debbie Quivey, director of the Athens County Board of Elections, said she thought more Republicans would turn out for this election despite Athens being politically leftward-leaning.

“(I think) the presidential primary will bring out the Republicans, but I think the commissioner and engineer races will pull out the Democrats,” she said.

By closing time, the presidential primary had brought out almost all of the registered Republicans in the county: 3,162 of the 3,219, about 100 voters more than the 2008 presidential primary, according to the board.

At about 7 p.m., David Whealey, a poll worker in the City Building, echoed Quivey’s sentiments about Republic voter turnout.

Polling locations for the Athens 3rd Ward and 1st and 3rd precincts saw more Republican voters than normal, Whealey said.

“(The Athens 3rd Ward and 1st and 3rd precincts) had three more Republican voters than Democrat,” Whealey said. “We normally have more Democrats.”

The 3rd Ward, a predominantly Uptown area, has a high concentration of students, which Whealey said probably contributed to the slightly better showing from Republicans.

For one of the commissioner seats up for grabs this year, Democrat Charlie Adkins defeated Gary Edwards with about 3,300 of the about 6,600 votes and will fight for Payne’s seat this November, according to the board.

Chris Chmiel garnered about 2,100 of the about 6,800 votes to displace current commissioner Mark Sullivan, according to the board.

The hotly contested county engineer’s race brought in almost 6,850 votes — with challenger Jeff Maiden displacing current engineer Archie Stanley with almost 5,700 votes, according to the board.

The official election results will not be available until March 23, when all provisional and absentee ballots have been counted.

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