Technology with attitude

Low Turnout Reported In Georgia

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It seems fairly clear that turnout for today’s Senate runoff in Georgia will be nowhere near the levels reached on November 4th:

ATLANTA — Georgia voters encountered short lines but heavy campaigning Tuesday on the morning of the state’s runoff election for the Senate between the incumbent Republican, Saxby Chambliss, and Democratic challenger Jim Martin.

Polling stations across Georgia reported low to moderate voter turnout. At the Atlanta Public Library on Ponce de Leon Ave., where more than 1,600 people voted in the general election, only 400 people had voted by noon today.

With voter turnout critical to both candidates’ success, the Martin and Chambliss campaigns cranked up massive get-out-the-vote efforts. Matt Canter, a spokesman for Mr. Martin, said the campaign had 3,200 people knocking on doors and 3,000 others making phone calls to likely Democratic voters.

Michelle Grasso, a spokeswoman for Mr. Chambliss, said the Republicans were relying largely on e-mail and telephone messages to remind voters of the election. The Chambliss campaign has sent two messages a day to supporters for the past four weeks and will continue to contact voters today, she said.

The election could have a significant impact on the balance of power in the Senate. Mr. Chambliss’s re-election to a second term would prevent Democrats from gaining a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority.

Many voters interviewed today said the balance of power was an important factor in their choice of a candidate.

“If you can’t have a little back-and-forth arguing between the parties, then the party in power will make mistakes,” said Ron Zukowski, a computer expert in Atlanta who voted for Mr. Chambliss. “This was my chance to say ‘no,’ and I said ‘no.’ ”

My guess is that a low-turnout election would be to Chambliss’s benefit, but we’ll have to see what happens.