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Turnout Is Light So Far for Athens/Oconee Special Elections

Houston Gaines, running to replace Republican Regina Quick, who stepped down in August as representative from Georgia House District 117, had a warning for the Oconee County Republicans who attended the party’s meeting in late September.

“We’ve got to work hard to keep this seat,” Gaines said of the 117th, which is dominated by Clarke County but includes parts of Oconee, Barrow and Jackson counties as well.

Ed Perkins, vice chair of the Oconee County GOP, underscored the importance to Oconee County Republicans of what Gaines had said.

“We all realize this is a special election, which means that it’s really all about voter turnout,” Perkins said. “And with the T-SPLOST on the ballot in Clarke County, it is very likely that they will have a strong voter turnout. And that means it is just more and more important that here in Oconee County we get our folks out to vote.”

In the first week of early voting, turnout in both counties has been very low, but Oconee County is outperforming Clarke County in turnout both in the 117th and in the 119th, which is split equally between the two counties and has its own election on the ballot on Nov. 7.

Oconee County’s advantage over Clarke County in the 117th is extremely slight, and an analysis of voting in Oconee County last year shows that one of the three precincts that falls into the 117th had lower turnout rates than the county as a whole and is likely to hold down turnout on Nov. 7.

For more, visit Oconee County Observations.