County voters follow historic trends in Nov. 6 election

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, November 8, 2012

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Lifestyles Editor

Shelby County lived up to its reputation as one of the most Republican counties in the state during Tuesday’s election.

Voters in the GOP stronghold voted overwhelmingly for Republican candidates in the county’s four contested elections.

“I think Shelby County pretty well stuck to our historic voting trends,” Probate Judge Jim Fuhrmeister said.

Voter turnout was high, around 76 percent, with 92,696 of the 122,703 registered voters casting ballots on Tuesday.

Only two of Shelby County’s 47 precincts gave a win to President Barack Obama, who won the national election. Voters at Alabaster Liberty Baptist cast 559 votes for Obama and 219 votes for challenger Mitt Romney, while Montevallo Parks and Recreation Building voters cast 919 votes for Obama and 673 votes for Romney. The same precincts voted for Obama in the 2008 election.

Those two precincts also had more straight-party Democratic voters in 2012. In 2008, voters in the Wilton Municipal Annex and Harpersville City Hall also cast more straight-party Democratic votes than straight-party Republican votes.

Overall, straight-party voting saw a slight increase in the 2012 election. Shelby County voters cast 9,801 votes for the Democratic party and 36,588 votes for the Republican party, compared to 9,533 and 32,677, respectively, in 2008.

Fuhrmeister said Bob Vance, who was defeated by Judge Roy Moore in the race for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was the best-performing Democrat in the state.

“We had 36 percent for (Vance),” Fuhrmeister said. “That was more than 10 percent than we had in the Democratic race for president.”

Heidee Vansant, chief clerk for the Shelby County Board of Registrars, said voter registration was very busy in 2012, but actually decreased from 2008. Approximately 21,398 people registered to vote from January through October 2012, compared to 27,717 people that registered during the same time period in 2008.

“I thought it would be as bad as 2008,” she said.

Vansant said she saw many of the registrants in 2008 and 2012 were older residents voting for the first time.

“A lot of people were over 60 or 70 who had never registered to vote,” she said.