Voter turnout in Sussex expected to set records

Shown at the Sussex County Board of Elections office in Georgetown on election night are (l-r) Ken McDowell, director of the Sussex County Department of Elections; Jean Turner, deputy director; Gerald Pepper, a member of the Board of Elections for nearly 40 years; and Vaughan Calloway, president of the Board of Elections and a member of that board for 27 years. Board of Elections positions are political appointments with three Democrat members and three Republican members. Other members of the board include Betty Elliott, Democrat and a 29-year member; and Republicans Charles E. Short, Robert Masten and Lisa Kollock.  Pepper and Callaway are Democrats. BY DENNIS FORNEY
November 7, 2012

Since 1991, the number of registered voters in Sussex County has more than doubled.  Then, said Sussex County Board of Elections Director Ken McDowell, there were 50,000 registered voters.  This year, he said, there were 133,000 registered voters.  Based on the lines he saw all day during the election, McDowell said when all the votes are counted he expects a record number will have voted along with a record percentage of voters. "No question in my mind," said McDowell.

Jean Turner, deputy director of the board, said the cost for this year's primary and general elections combined will exceed $500,000.  Most of that money goes to the 898 poll workers on duty to conduct the election at 73 polling places.  That number is up from 64 before redistricting in 2010.

"I can tell you what I've learned from watching elections for more than 40 years," said Pepper.  "People will go more out of their way to vote against someone than they will to vote for someone.  If they think the person who they like is going to win they may not go to the polls.  But if someone is running who made them mad for some reason, they will definitely go to the polls to vote against that person."