Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door says voter turnout may be a bit higher this year than it has been for other April elections in the past simply because of the multiple propositions appearing on the ballot.
“They may get more people out to vote,” Door said. “They may come out to vote for it or just as many may come out just to vote against it.”
Door said on average the voter turnout for April elections is usually the lowest and average between 14 and 18 percent participation.
“This year may be a bit higher, but you never know,” Door said. “The weather could also play a role in turnout. If it’s rainy and nasty, people won’t get out.”
Door added the actual ballot language of the propositions also will be key in their passage or failure.
“The simpler the language the better,” Door said. “A lot of people don’t do their homework and study these issues. If they don’t understand it, they won’t vote for it.”
She explained propositions can be given any name the entity putting them on the ballot desires. Letters are usually used out of convenience and usually have no real bearing on the issue.
In the April 2016 election there were 68,389 registered voters in Franklin County. The total ballots cast were 14,675 or 21.46 percent of the registered voters. In 2015, 10,150 ballots were cast; 2014, 8,855; and 2012, 15 percent of the 63,999 registered voters cast 9,419 ballots.
Compare those numbers to November 2016, when 71.8 percent of registered voters cast almost 51,000 ballots in the major races.
Door said the 2016 and 2012 numbers were only higher because they were presidential election years.
The contents of the ballot in individual areas will play a role in people heading to polling places as well.
If there are only a few things for the voter to decide, they are more likely to stay home.
“There is a lot of voter apathy and that’s sad,” Door said. “The elections in April decide the issues and people who affect our everyday lives. There are so many city, school and fire district offices.”
Although it shouldn’t affect turnout in April, Door said the August election numbers may be higher than normal due to the large number of county and state offices on the primary ballot. Many of which may be decided in the primary since candidates are usually from the same party.
“It’s really a shame more people don’t come out,” Door said. “It takes just as much work to put on an election in April as it does in November without the same numbers.”
Door said it takes an army to train staff and ready equipment at 62 polling places across the county to allow the 64,581 active registered voters their chance to perform a civic duty.