Before this past primary election on Aug. 28, Supervisor of Elections Heather Riley said she was shooting for a turnout of 75 to 80 percent.
She didn’t quite hit that ambitious mark, which would have been astronomical for an off-year primary election, but she did achieve one thing – the best turnout in the state.
By the time polls closed Tuesday night, only 27.46 percent of registered Florida voters had cast primary-election ballots. But in Franklin County, the turnout was 56.46 percent, part of a trend that saw turnout in some rural North Florida counties dwarfing the state rate.
Franklin was followed by 55.33 percent in neighboring Liberty County, according to numbers posted on the state Division of Elections website, with Jefferson County at 49.37 percent, Gadsden at 41.82 percent and Holmes at 40.69 percent.
The state’s lowest turnout rate, 20.6 percent, came in Central Florida’s Osceola County. That was followed by a 21.35 percent rate in Miami-Dade, a 23.53 percent rate in Broward County, a 24.01 percent rate in Hendry County and a 24.8 percent rate in Bay County.
The best showing locally was in Apalachicola’s historic district, which saw 72.3 percent of registered voters going to the polls. The turnout was 70.4 percent by Republicans, and 79.4 percent by Democrats.
The district outside of Apalachicola was next best with a 67.8 percent turnout, comprised of 64.3 percent of Republicans and 72.4 percent of Democrats.
Apalachicola’s Hill neighborhood turned out at a 67.2 percent clip, a showing of 60.4 percent by Republicans and 73.6 percent by Democrats.
All three Apalachicola precincts had school board races, which may have helped boost turnout.
On St. George Island, 58.2 percent of voters turnout, with 58.5 percent of Republicans casting ballots, and 68.4 percent of Democrats.
On Alligator Point 53.9 of registered voters cast ballots, made up of 62.6 percent of Republicans and 56.1 percent of Democrats.
In Eastpoint, 52.1 percent of voters cast their ballot, a 50.1 percent turnout by Democrats and a 63.4 percent showing among the GOP.
Only in Lanark and in Carrabelle, neither of which had school board races, did the turnout dip below 50 percent.
In Lanark, it was 43.8 percent, made up of 50.7 percent of registered Republicans, and 48.6 percent of Democrats.
In Carrabelle, the turnout was the worst, by far, amounting to only 26.4 percent. Republicans voted at a 26.8 percent rate, while Democrats cast ballots at a 28.7 percent clip.
A review of the balloting shows that Jay Gordon Shuler, the winner in the race for county judge, won five of the eight precincts, aided by big margins in Apalachicola. Barbara Sanders managed to win the majority of voters on St. George Island, and in Alligator Point and Lanark Village.
In the race for the nomination by their party for tax collector, Republican Rick Watson and Democrat Teresa Ann Martin each carried each of the eight precincts. They’ll square off in November in a three-way race that also includes Connie Polous, who is running without party affiliation.