Election Day 2017 Saw Low Voter TurnoutPosted: Updated:
It was a year of change - a new district attorney in St. Lawrence County, challengers pushed two incumbents off Watertown City Council.
But one thing stayed the same: people just don't come out for local elections like they do in a presidential year.
"This year we dipped right back to pretty much our normal non-gubernatorial, non-presidential year levels," said Jude Seymour, Republican Commissioner for the Jefferson County Board of Elections.
Before absentee ballots, 31.6 percent of registered voters in Jefferson County cast a ballot, 39 percent in St. Lawrence County and 35 percent in Lewis County.
That's a far cry from last year's presidential election where close to 70 percent of voters in the north country cast a ballot.
It all depends on how you look at it though. Al in all, it was typical voter turnout for local elections of this nature, with some races bringing out big numbers.
For a local election, voter turnout was up quite a bit in Sackets Harbor as the village elected a new mayor and St. Lawrence County was up a little bit with the DA race.
This all brings the question - is there anyway to get more people out to vote in odd years.
Seymour says efforts would come out taxpayers pockets, most likely the counties.
"There's really no easy solution and there's other states that are trying all sorts of different things, but the bottom line is everything cost money," he said. "And you have to weigh that and say is it worth the amount of money that we'd spend for, say, early voting or something like that to increase our turnout and is it important to people."
All three counties are finishing up counting absentee ballots this week.