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POLITICS: Early voters show little interest in mayoral referendum

The number of absentee ballots cast in Tuesday’s contentious strong-mayor referendum indicates that the passion of advocates has not translated into a lot of interest among typical voters.

Absentee voting usually is a benchmark of voter participation and a predictor of turnout on Election Day. But Columbians have not voted in a single-issue referendum on changing the form of government since 1949.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, 628 people had submitted absentee ballots, according to a tally from the State Election Commission. Richland County Elections & Voter Registration director Howard Jackson said his count was 627.

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