Voter turnout high in Shelby County

Published 1:19 pm Friday, November 5, 2010

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Voter turnout was high throughout Shelby County, as more than 60 percent of active registered voters cast ballots in the Nov. 2 general election.

Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister said out of 105,178 active voters, 63,679 cast votes.

“Shelby County always has a good turnout, but the turnout in this election was higher than I thought it would be for this election,” he said. “There was more interest by the voters in this election than we anticipated.”

Fuhrmeister said when he visited polling places, voters made their opinions clear.

“The consistent message I heard was that voters are angry. I think they used their votes to express their anger,” he said.

Statewide on Election Day, voters reported problems with pencils tearing their ballots. Fuhrmeister said that problem was solved in Shelby County quickly.

“We had some problems with the pencils, but we recognized very early that it was a problem statewide,” Fuhrmeister said. “We had ballot marking pens we had saved from previous elections, and we had those delivered to the precincts.”

Any voter who accidentally tore a ballot was allowed to fill out a new one. All ballots are identified by unique bar codes, and poll workers tore the bar codes off of the torn ballots and kept them in a separate envelope so the ballots could not be fed into the counting machines, Fuhrmeister said.

The torn ballots are accounted for in the final precinct count, he said.