High turnout in county

Shelby County voters turned out in droves Tuesday to vote on Gov. Bob Riley’s $1.3 billion tax and accountability package.

According to the Shelby County Board of Registrars, the total number of registered voters in Shelby County reached 84,981 by Aug. 29, the registration deadline for Tuesday’s election.

With 64 of 65 precincts reporting, nearly 56 percent of the county’s registered voters had made their way to the polls, opposing the governor’s plan decisively in Shelby County.

The high turnout was evident from the beginning as the votes were counted Tuesday night.

Among absentee votes, 287 marked &uot;yes&uot; and 694 marked &uot;no.&uot;

Shelby County Circuit Clerk Mary Harris said the number of absentee votes approached levels usually seen in elections like the presidential vote.

In normal elections, Harris said the office usually receives around 500 to 600 absentee ballots.

Presidential elections usually produce 1,200 to 1,500 absentees, she said, just slightly higher than Tuesday’s totals.

Shelby County Probate Judge Patricia Fuhrmeister said the voter turnout for this election was comparable to the gubernatorial election last November, which Riley won by a narrow margin over incumbent Don Siegelman.

&uot;With the election in November, we voted just over 49,000,&uot; Fuhrmeister said.

The Shelby County Board of Registrars worked at full capacity nearly all of August to keep up with voter registration requests.

&uot;We registered around 1,500 in August,&uot; board chairman Marti Dillard said