The relatively "large" first-day turnout caught DeKalb Elections director Linda Latimore by surprise.
"That's a pretty good turnout for a runoff," Latimore said Tuesday. "It's better than usual."
Added to the 159 voters who cast absentee ballots in person last week, 1,024 DeKalb residents had cast ballots by the end day on Monday.
On July 15, only 23 percent of the county's 368,805 voters participated in the primary, and last week, Latimore's office predicted a runoff turnout of 10 to 15 percent. In 2000, the last time there was a runoff in a CEO race, the turnout was 18 percent.
Latimore credits the growing interest in the Aug. 5 runoffs to the high profile DeKalb CEO race between County Commissioner Burrell Ellis and state Rep. Stan Watson, and the statewide U.S. Senate race between DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones and former state Rep. Jim Martin.
The victor in the CEO race will lead DeKalb County for the next four years, The winner in the Senate race will take on Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss in the Nov. 4 general election.
In addition to Monday's unexpected turnout, Latimore said she had more than 2,000 applications for absentee ballots that she was preparing to mail to voters as soon as the ballots arrived in her office.
"We don't have the ballots yet but as soon as they arrive we will be putting them in the mail," she said.
Because of the growing interest in the runoffs, Latimore said she extended the hours for advance voting by three hours daily, to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the original 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The DeKalb Voter Registration and Election Office at 4380 Memorial Drive is the only advance voting location for the runoff.
"We were getting so many calls about voting that we thought it best to extend the hours," she said.
Advance voting continues through Friday at 7 p.m. There will be no advance voting on Aug. 4, the day before the election.
Voters who apply for absentee ballots by mail must return their ballots to the Elections Office by election day.
On election day, all 193 county precincts will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 5.An approved photo ID is needed to vote in person.
Latimore said she was hopeful that the high interest will carry over to election day.
"We are very hopeful," she said.