OUR VIEW: One precinct had 3 votes cast all day Tuesday as voter turnout remains abysmal

Published 11:57 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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We don’t know how to get more people to care about local elections.  We wish we did.

We wish we knew why only 15% of registered voters took part in Tuesday night’s LaGrange City Council District 1 election. In a country where people were once willing to risk their lives for the right to vote, now we are begging people to take five minutes out of their schedule to pick between two names on a ballot.

And it’s not as if there’s only one day to vote. There are three weeks, thanks to the early voting process in Georgia.

A few months ago there was an uproar about needing Saturday voting in our community for the Raphael Warnock-Herschel Walker run-off, two men that seem to only know how to get to LaGrange when they are stumping for votes. People lined up at the Troup County Government Center to vote and to make a point.

One Saturday in this election cycle saw only four people vote. Where did that enthusiasm go?

There was recently a lot of mad people at the Troup County Commission over the sanitation changes in the county. “Who voted for these folks?” and “Vote them all out!” were common Facebook comments in response. They always are when the general public gets upset at a government decision, regardless of whether it’s the county or the city or school system.

Yet, while the city is an entirely different government entity, only 14% voted in an election for LaGrange City Council Tuesday night. The mayoral race a few months ago saw a similar turnout. 

The Gardner Newman voting precinct had three votes all day Tuesday out of 544 registered voters, meaning voter turnout of half a percent. The admin building precinct had 17 votes cast. Hammett Road had 82. 

It’s a shame. 

People will keep complaining about problems. About roads. Litter. The direction of our community. But when we had a chance to have a say in our local politics, only 15% took part.

Make it make sense.