Voter turnout was low in special election’s primary

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Thursday’s upcoming election brings with it an apparent need to remind local residents of the importance of voting. 

Despite plenty of community engagement in the form of attendance at campaign functions and online opinions about what the future should look like for Vicksburg’s Ward 1, the May 9 election to decide its next alderman had abysmal voter turnout.

According to numbers from Vicksburg City Hall, Ward 1 has a total population of 10,987, with 4,434 of those residents active voters. Another 899 Ward 1 residents are inactive voters, leaving the primary election’s turnout at just 28 percent of active voters.

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And if those numbers hold true for Thursday’s runoff election, it will mean the decision of who will represent those 10,000-plus people will be made by less than half of those actually able to go out and vote. If that’s the case, the decision will still get made and the results will be no less valid, but it’s not a great look for a part of town that hasn’t been shy about speaking out publicly on issues in its back yard. So, why would speaking out in the privacy of the voting booth be a problem?

The answer to that question isn’t evident, but it needs to be figured out if voters hope to really affect their leadership moving forward. The fact that this election takes place less than a week after Memorial Day – a holiday dedicated to the men and women who died for fundamental American rights like voting – should only be more motivation to hit the ballot boxes come Thursday.