Log in Subscribe

Contested races bring more voters

By ZOË HAGGARD - zhaggard@t-g.com
Posted 5/14/22

Out of the nearly 28,000 registered voters in Bedford County, 5,002—a total of 18 percent—showed up for the May 3 primary election this year.

Of those 5,002 voters, 2,747 voted during …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Contested races bring more voters

Posted

Out of the nearly 28,000 registered voters in Bedford County, 5,002—a total of 18 percent—showed up for the May 3 primary election this year.

Of those 5,002 voters, 2,747 voted during early voting, 60 through absentee ballots, and 2,195 on the day of the election. Though that may sound low, Administrator of Elections Summer Leverette said this is an uptick from the 2018 election cycle.

“It was a little over 2,700 that voted four years ago,” she said.

Why was it more this year?

According to Leverette, the County mayoral and sheriff races drew more people out to vote.

“When you have contested elections in those kind of higher races like that, it brings out the turnout,” she said.

Leverette has been with the election office for 22 years, and of those 22 years, she has not seen a major increase in voter turnout for County elections.

But for presidential elections, there has been an increase. For example, the November 2020 election had over 20,000 show up and vote.

The voter demographic of these kinds of elections is older. But “the November presidential election is different. Everyone comes out for that one.”

Leverette explained that the local election office’s process is the same no matter what the turnout is. “We’re always prepared for the 27,000 voters,” she said.

Leverette said she does expect to see more people come out for the general elections later this year.

“What happens is people don’t understand what a primary election is, so they tend not to vote in the primaries, thinking ‘I’ll just vote in the general election.’ So, the primaries tend to be lower turnout in general.”

“Now, the oldest election is the state-federal primary and the county general. So that will have the state offices there as well as the federal. So that turnout will be better,” Leverette explained.

There’s only a limited number of things the election can do to encourage more voters to come out. Other surrounding counties, according to Leverette, have about the same or similar turnout, especially in the county races.

But “the candidates themselves could get out and promote voting . . . . That really helps voter turnout and that’s what happened here in this election,” Leverette said.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here