Decision 2008: Record Voter Turnout From Alabama's Presidential Primary

It all started to come into focus for Secretary of State Beth Chapman 24 hours after the last person voted.

"A red-letter day for Alabama," said Chapman.

Statewide, the voter turnout was 36%. For once Alabama wasn't an after-thought for the presidential candidates, a state now lumped with the rest on Super Tuesday.

"I think the voters were more energized since the primary was moved up. For once we weren't last. We were up there with among the 25 upper states," Chapman said.

State Representative Mac Gipson (R) initially had reservations when the legislature voted to move the primary from June to February. After all it was expensive, somewhere around 3 million dollars, but Gipson is now a believer even though Alabama isn't delegate-rich like California.

"Maybe it was a good move after all. It stirred up a lot of voters, a lot of young voters," Gipson said.

And it was the young people who helped drive the turnout in Montgomery County as well as the rest of the state.

"45% of the voters came out and voted yesterday," said Montgomery County Director of Elections Trey Granger.

That's four times as many compared to the presidential primary 4 years ago.

"I think the voters are really taking this process very seriously," Granger said.

A record north of Montgomery as well. Autagua County enjoyed a 40% turnout. In neighboring Elmore County, 47%, according to the county officials.

Lawmakers and election officials believe they have turned the page when it comes to getting more people to vote. In this case a combination of moving the primary up, voter education as well as the candidates in both parties. Regardless of who or what gets the credit, people like Chapman and Granger are just pleased at the sheer number of people who even showed up, the highest since 1992.