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April 7 Election: Lower Turnout Than Normal?

By Alex Haglund

The elections held in Washington County on Tuesday, April 7 had a voter turnout of about 14%, or 1,394 people coming to the polls out of 9,948 total registered voters.

“That’s typical,” said County Clerk Nancy Heseman who was not surprised by the turnout which she stated was low, but not shocking or abnormal.

“This election only happens one every four years,” Heseman said, talking about a spring consolidated election. The last one like it was in the spring of 2011, when voter turnout was 19.45%, more than 5% higher.

Heseman suggested that there could be a number of reasons for lower turnout this time: less competitive races, less races on the ballot overall.

In the 2011 election Heseman mentioned for instance, there were competitive races for both the District 49 and District 99 School Boards.

“Sometimes if there’s a question on the ballot– let’s say that the fire department has a question that’s about raising taxes– that will bring out the voters,” Heseman stated.

“Then it was kind of rainy. Sometimes if it’s rainy like that people think, ‘I’m just not gonna go,’” Heseman said.

The lowest turnout in the county was in the Pilot Knob Precinct, where turnout was just 31 voters, 7.56% turnout. The highest turnout was in Ashley with 157 voters or 28.34% turnout. Ashley’s city council race had seven people seeking three seats.

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