By ANDY KIRKALDY
ADDISON COUNTY â€” Voter turnout in Addison County ran ahead of statewide forecasts, with 13 of the countyâ€™s 23 towns reporting that at least 70 percent of their registered voters cast ballots on Tuesday.
Prior to the election Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz told the Burlington Free Press that she expected statewide turnout to end up in the 60 percent range, although the actual percentage wonâ€™t be known for a few days.
Nationally, the Associated Press gave the preliminary estimate on Wednesday morning that turnout was about 40 percent, in line with previous midterm votes held between presidential elections.
Meanwhile, only one Addison County town recorded a turnout of less than 60 percent: Goshen, where 55.8 percent of voters showed up at the polls.
At the other end of the spectrum Weybridge earned the gold star for civics: 80.8 percent of the townâ€™s voters showed up.
Itâ€™s possible that a hotly contested Vermont House race between Republican incumbent Harvey Smith and Democratic challenger Chris Bray (Bray edged Smith; see related story) pumped up turnout in the district that includes Bridport and New Haven as well as Weybridge.
Turnout in Bridport was 73.2 percent, the seventh-highest total in the county, and turnout in New Haven was 74.6 percent, the countyâ€™s third highest.
Meanwhile, Panton hit the 76 percent mark, while turnout in Addison, Shoreham and Whiting (where officials had to scramble to print extra ballots) stood right at 74 percent.
Other towns that topped 70 percent turnout were Ferrisburgh and Cornwall, 70 percent each; Granville, 70.2 percent; Lincoln, 73 percent; Monkton, 71.7 percent; and Waltham, 72.6 percent.
Turnout was less dramatic, but still strong, in the countyâ€™s larger towns. In Middlebury 62.2 percent of voters cast ballots; in Bristol, 65.1 percent; and in Vergennes, 68.5 percent.
In Brandon, at the north end of Rutland County, turnout was 66 percent.
Elsewhere in Addison County, the turnout in Hancock was 61.2 percent; Leicester, 66 percent; Orwell and Ripton, 69.7 percent; Salisbury, 64.4 percent; and Starksboro, 69 percent.