Voters flocked to the polls to cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 General Election with the wait times at some polling places topping nearly three hours.
The line at Mulder Church, located on Firetower Road, was wrapped completely around the building at about 4 p.m., but voters were not deterred and waited patiently in line.
Of the 60,672 registered voters in the county, 41,007 of them cast a their votes in the election. The county had a voter turnout of 67.59%. Elmore County Probate Judge John Thornton said that percentage doesn’t account for a few provisional ballots that will be counted early next week. However, the provisional ballots aren’t expected to change the voter turnout percentage by much, if at all.
This year’s voter turnout percentage was typical, according to Thornton. In fact, a higher percentage of registered voters participated in the 2016 presidential election, Thornton said.
There were 52,408 registered voters in the 2016 presidential election and 37,454 actually showed up to vote, which equates to a voter turnout of 71.47%.
The polls might have seemed more crowded this time around because the number of registered voters has increased since the 2016 presidential election, but a lower percentage of registered voters took part this year compared to four years ago.
In four years, the county’s registered voters increased by roughly 8,200 people. Thornton attributed the increase to two factors – an increase in the county’s population and people being encouraged to vote, either by friends and family members or by voting registration initiatives.
“In March 2020, there were 57,936 registered voters,” Thornton said. “That number increased by about 2,000 between then and November. I think that was the result of people being encouraged to register.”
The 2020 presidential election also saw an increase in another area – absentee ballots. In 2016, there were 748 absentee ballots, compared to a record-setting 4,074 this year. Thornton said 6.7% of voters utilized absentee ballots.
Overall, Thornton said he was happy with the way voting operations were conducted throughout the county.
“I’m very pleased,” he said. “Our poll workers did a tremendous job following protocol and keeping the process organized.”