Low voter turnout is disappointing

Published 4:07 pm Wednesday, May 23, 2018

We’d love to say that the majority of Troup County voters spoke loudly last night, as they elected officials locally, statewide and on the federal level.  However, that would be a bit misleading, considering only 16.97 percent of registered voters actually took the time to vote.

It’s not as if we were expecting a high voter turnout. Anyone that even halfway follows politics will tell you that any non-presidential election is unlikely to attract on-the-fence voters or those who usually need a little extra motivation to go to the polls.

We get it too. Time is precious, and we all have jobs to do, bills to pay and there’s never enough time with family.

The weekends are short, the weeks are long, and taking the time to get know all of the candidates on a crowded ballot takes a lot of effort and can honestly be a lot like pulling teeth. To some, watching paint dry might be more interesting. We get it.

But these elections, especially the local ones, are building blocks for the future of our community. Patrick Crews was re-elected as Troup County Commission Chairman, and he will continue to lead this county for the next four years. He’ll have a large impact on what happens in the future of this area, but less than 17 percent of voters decided to go to the polls. Even less than that — 11 percent — voted in the chairman race, mainly due to voters having to choose between a Republican or Democrat ballot. Both Crews and his opponent, Tripp Foster, ran as Republicans.

Think about that for a second. Just above one-tenth of eligible voters decided who would lead Troup County forward in the future. Given the final margin of victory for Crews, it’s unlikely the result would’ve been different, but you never know. Another 30,000 votes would’ve changed things drastically in all the races.

In the district 7 school board race — contested among three candidates — there were only 594 total votes, despite the four precincts totaling to 4,980 registered voters. Just over 12 percent of voters determined who will represent district 7 on the school board for the next four years. We probably get more letters to the editor on our schools than any other entity, yet nearly 88 percent of voters in district 7 didn’t take part in Tuesday’s election.

There will be a run-off on July 24 for statewide candidates, including the Republican governor race between Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp. Perhaps that race will inspire a few more voters to get to the polls, but in that election, there will be no local races on the ballot.

The chance to have your voice heard in a local election won’t be available again until November, but even then most of the candidates will be running unopposed. 

We’ll continue to harp and hope that during Troup County’s next local election, more voters will take part in the democratic process.