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Turnout high in county

Decatur County voters—which ranks swelled by almost 13 percent from two years ago—came out Tuesday to participate in this historic national election.

However, the strongest turnout was in the days prior to Tuesday’s General Election when more voters took advantage of advanced and early voting.

Decatur County Clerk of Elections Erica Hamilton said 5,192 voters participated in the early and advance voting. Only 4,440 persons trekked to the polls Tuesday to vote, which made Decatur County’s voter turnout approximately 70.5 percent.

Voters lined up outside of polling places early Tuesday morning.

Poll worker Mary Jane Duke said there were more than 100 people lined up waiting to vote outside Memorial Coliseum before the polls opened at 7 a.m.

Duke said in past years, lunch time was a busy time at the polls, but this elections, voters arrived early with the rush coming between 7 to 9 a.m.

Republican John McCain carried Decatur County to Democrat Barack Obama. With all the precincts in the county, McCain received 5,764 votes, or 56.7 percent, to Obama’s 4,348 votes, or 42.8 percent. Bob Barr received 49 votes.

Nationally, early projects said Obama won the race for the most electoral college votes and will most likely be elected the nation’s first African-American president.

In Georgia, McCain won the state’s 15 electoral votes.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss won Georgia and the majority of the votes in Decatur County.

In Decatur County, Chambliss received 5,411 votes, or 57.4 percent, to Democrat Jim Martin’s 3,868 votes, or 41 percent. In Georgia, with 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Chambliss received 54.8 percent of the votes to Martin’s 41.6 percent. Allen Buckley received 3.6 percent.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop easily won re-election with 67 percent of the votes in the 2nd Congressional District, with 86 percent of the precincts reporting. Lee Ferrell received 33 percent of the vote in the District. In Decatur County, Bishop received 6,434 votes, or 66.6 percent, to Ferrell’s 3,228 votes, or 33.8 percent.

Constitutional amendments

One of the three proposed constitutional amendments received overwhelming approval, but the second proposed amendment was too close to call Tuesday evening, and the third amendment was on the road to defeat.

Amendment No. 1, which would encourage preservation of Georgia forests through conservation property tax reduction, passed. With 82 percent of the precincts reporting, 67.7 percent of the Georgia voters approved the amendment’s passage to 32.2 percent voting no. In the county, there were 6,154 yes votes, and 4,119 no votes.

Amendment No. 2, which gave local school district use of tax funds for community redevelopment purposes, 50.2 percent of the voters voted in favor of it to 49.8 percent voting no in statewide results. In Decatur County, the amendment received 4,828 yes votes to 4,406 no votes.

Amendment No. 3, which would have allowed special infrastructure Development District for underserved areas, 53.5 percent of the state voters said no to the amendment, to 46.5 voting no. In Decatur County, 4,713 voted no and 3,928 voted yes.