Absentee ballots are up, but will voters head to the polls?

By Tim Pulliam - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Election day is just one week away, and it's about time to make a decision. The state Election Commission says absentee voter turnout is looking pretty good, but will people actually show up at the polls?

Melissa Gainey is not excited about next Tuesday. "I feel like it's not about change it's about corporate and it's about finances and what's going in their pocket," said Gainey. "I don't think anyone is going for change here."

The 28-year-old represents voters who say they're burnt out by old school politics and shallow campaigns. "There's a lot of promises, but once they get into office, I rarely see it come through," said Gainey.

In Five Points, we found some younger voters who disagree with Melissa. "It's nice to have some kind of power, I always feel like the little guy," said 22-year-old Jacob Perritt. "A lot of folks think one vote don't count, but I look at it as I cancel out some pretty big people. It's nice to say I was apart of causing this to happen whether good or bad."

Absentee ballots are one indication of voter turnout. The State Election Commission says it expects to process more than 100,000 absentee ballots this mid-term, compared to only 75,000 in 2006.

"Whether they follow through and actually cast a ballot, usually we see 90 to 95 percent of those people follow through and complete the absentee process," said Chris Whitmire of the Election Commission. "If we see the rate continue, we'll do a little better in absentee voting this year and hopefully a lot of people will come out on election day as well."

That hope is a tough sell for Melissa. Her mind is made up, and she's staying home Tuesday. "Hopefully we'll get someone in office that actually will take the next step and make some changes, we'll see," she said.

If you do plan to vote, election officials want you to be prepared before you get to the polls. They say you should find out where your polling place is, bring your ID and know whose on the ballot.

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