Saturday is the last day for early voting in New Hanover County where there are more than 87,000 registered voters eligible for municipal elections. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports that despite the county’s efforts to make early voting more accessible, turnout so far for this election remains predictably low.
As of Thursday, a little more than 1,800 voters took advantage of early voting set up at the Government Center, Senior Resource Center and the Main Library. Marvin McFadyen is the county’s election director and says even though two extra sites were added this year, turnout is nothing like it was in the presidential election.
“That seems to traditionally have a higher response for the community. In 2008 we had over 70 percent that turned out to vote in the presidential election, compared to a municipal election where we have less than 20 percent. But you know, local politics has far more of an impact on them as a community.”
McFadyen says giving voters more access is an attempt to bring in larger numbers.
“It’s our hope that the more services that we provide by giving the voter more opportunity and providing these additional sites that it would increase turnout. We could see an increase in those who vote early but voter turnout for this particular election would pretty much be on average with the history as it would show.”
In the 2008 presidential election there was a 70 percent turnout in New Hanover County compared to the municipal elections in 2009, where less than 20 percent made it to the polls.
Turnout is expected to be low on Tuesday but McFadyen says he does expect a high turnout in Castle Hayne, where 1,900 registered voters will get to decide on a referendum for incorporation. If the referendum passes, votes cast for municipal candidates will be counted.