Voter turnout low

Few mu­nic­i­pal vot­ers made it to the polls Tues­day

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Oswald

Even con­sid­er­ing the fact that it was not a gen­eral elec­tion year, voter turnout at Tues­day’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions was rel­a­tively low.

Only 25 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers in Cov­ing­ton cast bal­lots com­pared to 36 per­cent four years ear­lier. How­ever Tues­day’s turnout was still bet­ter than the turnout for 2005 when only 11 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers turned out ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pro­vided by the New­ton County Board of Elec­tions.

Tues­day’s fig­ures were some­what sur­pris­ing for Cov­ing­ton. With Mayor Sam Ram­sey not run­ning for re- elec­tion and Coun­cil Mem­ber Roger Tin­gler not run­ning for re-elec­tion for the Post 3 East Ward Seat, two for­merly se­cure seats were wide open.

For full elec­tion cov­er­age see Wed­nes­day’s edi­tion of The News or go on­line at www.cov­news.com

Still, Cov­ing­ton’s reg­is­tered vot­ers list has in­creased in re­cent years thanks to many new res­i­dents who have swelled the lists from 4,919 reg­is­tered vot­ers in 2005 to 5,290 in 2007.

In Por­terdale voter turnout was even lower with only 22 per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers cast­ing bal­lots. How­ever, turnout in the for­merly eco­nom­i­cally de­pressed mill town has been low for many years with only ap­prox­i­mately 24 per­cent vot­ing in 2003 and 28 per­cent vot­ing 2005.

Spe­cific num­bers for the 2003 elec­tions were not avail­able as the records were lost in the fire which de­stroyed the Porter Me­mo­rial Gym where they were stored. The Cov­ing­ton News had to do an ap­prox­i­ma­tion based on its own archives and avail­able num­bers from the Por­terdale Elec­tions Su­per­in­ten­dent Tom Fox.

Ox­ford vot­ers on av­er­age vote with greater fre­quency than res­i­dents in Cov­ing­ton and Por­terdale. In 2003 a whop­ping 48 per­cent turned out to vote in the lo­cal elec­tion for a new mayor of Ox­ford.

This year 27 per­cent of reg­is­tered Ox­ford vot­ers cast bal­lots, ac­cord­ing to Carol Poole, elec­tions su­per­in­ten­dent and city clerk for the city.

There were only two con­tested races in Ox­ford this year with Jerry Rose­berry run­ning un­con­tested for the po­si­tion of mayor.

“I thought it was a good turnout,” Poole said. “We had no op­po­si­tion for the mayor’s post this year. Be­cause there was no op­po­si­tion, I wasn’t ex­pect­ing 27 per­cent.”

While Hoyt Oliver eas­ily sailed to re-elec­tion for Coun­cil Post 3, a runoff race has been sched­uled for the Coun­cil Post 1 seat be­tween Frank Davis who cap­tured 48.3 per­cent of the vote and In­cum­bent Amma Gaither who came in sec­ond with 27.6 per­cent.

The runoff elec­tion will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 4. Vot­ers will once again cast their bal­lots in the Com­mu­nity Room, ad­ja­cent to the Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment on Emory Street.

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