Bryan County residents joined voters from Georgia and 23 other states across the nation in participating in Tuesday’s presidential primaries.
Bryan County Probate Judge Sam Davis said the county saw a slightly higher turnout than anticipated.
"We had a 38 percent turnout today and we anticipated 35," he said. "The turnout is also a little more than in the last presidential election, since there’s more controversy this year with a heated race between both the Democratic and Republican nominees. We were pleased with the numbers."
Clerk Marsha Wells said they had 10 of 11 precincts accounted for at press time.
"We really have 10 precincts, but there’s 11 if you count advanced and absentee voting," she said, noting the preliminary results include the advanced and absentee numbers.
Polling officials in Bryan County said the primary, dubbed Super Tuesday, produced a steady turnout across the board, with residents coming out to cast their votes for a number of different reasons.
At Hendrix Park, polling official Sue Cliett said the morning started off even busier than expected.
"A line started forming outside at around 6:20 this morning," she said. "It was all the way around the corner when we opened at 7 a.m. and it’s been steady ever since."
Preliminary results leaned toward John McCain in the Republican primary. He had 1,170 votes at press time.
On the Democrat side, Barak Obama outpolled Hillary Clinton 918-912.
One poll official at the Richmond Hill Wetland Center said she noticed a lot more young people voting this year, in comparison to prior elections she’d volunteered at.
Ashley Chin, 21 was one of them.
"I think more young people should come out to the polls because we’re the future generation and it’s mostly my mother’s age or older that are voting," Chin said. "I think people under 30 need to vote more. If I do it, then hopefully my friends, my boyfriend and people around me will do the same. That’s why I’m here today."
Chin said she was still on the fence between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
"There’s some things that I’m with and against with both of them," she said.
Another voter representing the future generation was Austin Reed, 21, who planned to vote for Obama. He said he really liked Obama’s ideas, especially his Social Security policies. Reed’s father is overseas and Reed said Obama has some good ideas about Iraq, too.
Ellabell resident Gwendolyn Greene said Clinton was her pick, with her biggest concerns being the economy and bringing the troops home from Iraq. She also felt strongly about the religious beliefs of the presidential prospects.
"I believe that (Hillary) believes in Jesus Christ; I’m also a Christian. Barack, I’m not sure if he’s a Christian with his Muslim background. He doesn’t take a stand for Christianity and I believe he would negotiate with other religions and I don’t believe Hillary would do that," she said. "Our country was founded on Christianity and even though some issues have been immoral in her family…they still believe in Jesus Christ and God is forgiving, God is merciful. I believe that Hillary is a forgiving wife, she has forgiven her husband and she’s my candidate."
Other Richmond Hill residents like Geneva Young and Tony Robinson were also in favor of a Democratic president. Young said she was voting for Obama because she’s looking for a positive change. Robinson said that while he thinks both Obama and Clinton offer up good points and carry themselves well, Clinton stands out as the next president.
"I think she has better control of herself," Robinson said.
On the other side of the fence, there were plenty of local residents who hope to see another Republican face in the White House. Pembroke resident Hoynes Bacon said he was voting for Mitt Romney because he believes Romney will help take care of economic problems the nation is facing.
Richmond Hill resident and Army Sgt. First Class Jerome Phillips said he voted for John McCain based on his military platform.
"He’s a little more realistic than the rest – especially about Iraq," Phillips said. "I mean, to say that we’re going to have everybody back within the first year of their administration is a little far-fetched. Stuff like that takes time, as we learned from World War II. How long were we there before we pulled out? As a matter of fact, we’re still there."
Chris Lovell of Richmond Hill had a similar opinion.
"I’m going with McCain because he has the best shot over Hillary or Barack," Lovell said. "I like the fact that McCain is talking about keeping the capital gains tax down and I like his stance on defense."
Ellabell resident Dana Cook said she voted for Mike Huckabee.
"To be honest, I haven’t really been keeping up with the presidential election so I didn’t really know the stances. I had to call up my dad and ask him who he was voting for, so that’s what made me choose my decision," she said.
Linda Mingledorff and Annie Martin, both of Ellabell, also voted for Huckabee.
"Human life is a big issue for me," Mingledorff said. "I really like Huckabee’s high standards and that’s why I voted for him
At Pembroke City Hall at 5 p.m., polling official manager Laverne Scott added to the consensus that the day produced a decent crowd of voters.
"It’s been steady," she said. "It was a lot better than standing around twiddling our thumbs."
Reporter Ross Blair contributed to this story.
Here are Bryan County’s preliminary results:
Joe Biden – 9
Hillary Clinton – 912
Christopher Dodd – 1
John Edwards – 48
Mike Gravel – 2
Dennis Kucinich – 6
Barack Obama – 918
Bill Richardson – 4
Rudy Guiliani – 15
Mike Huckabee – 810
Duncan Hunter – 2
Alan Keyes – 4
John McCain – 1,170
Ron Paul – 82
Mitt Romney – 1,110
Tom Tancredo – 1
Fred Thompson – 12
One precinct had not yet been tallied at press time.