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Valdosta's city municipal election turnout is slow; here's why

Lowndes County Elections is still seeing low voter turnout
Posted at 6:14 PM, Nov 02, 2023
  • More than 1,000 neighbors voted within the first week of early voting starting from Monday, Oct. 16, to Sunday, Oct. 22.
  • As of December 2021, the 65+ age group makes up the highest concentration of active voters in Lowndes County at the time, at 14,076 or 19.7% The next highest age group is 18-24 at 9,125 voters or 12.8%.
  • Watch the video to see voter turnout as advance voting wraps up.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT

In Valdosta, we have 41,213 registered voters for the current election.

Fewer than three thousand have voted so far.

"It's our responsibility to vote for elected officials."

I'm Malia Thomas, in Valdosta, and at the Board of Elections and checking in with our county's election officials to see how many neighbors are heading to the polls.

Meet Alfred Hiers. He is a retired educator.

I meet him while he was in the middle of voting. He tells me he never skips any election.

"I taught history and I taught government. It's not just your right; it's your responsibility to do it. That's the biggest thing."

He tells me his involvement with government has influenced how he approaches elections.

"I've been lucky. My roommate in college became governor of Georgia. Roy Barnes. And also, I was at the White House when NATO was expanded by George W Bush; I was maybe 50 feet away. And I've been in senators and representatives offices up in Washington, so I've been on all levels of government."

The lower turnout has been disappointing to Alfred.

I checked with the Secretary of State's Active Voter Report.

As of December 2021, the 65+ age group makes up the highest concentration of active voters in Lowndes County at the time, at 14,076 or 19.7 percent The next highest age group is 18-24 at 9,125 voters or 12.8 percent.

Voters are closer when it comes to race. White voters made up 39,398 or 55.2 percent percent of voters in the county while Black voters made up 24,225 or 34% of the voters. The remaining 10.8% includes Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan.

Darrion Ratliff, the youngest election official in the state, tell me that while this cycle's numbers look low, this is typical.

"Turnout has been just below 6%."

Election Day will be on Tuesday, November 7th. I'm Malia Thomas, reporting for ABC27.