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Getting Fort Worth Voters To Polls May Be Biggest Problem

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People stand in line at a polling place. (credit: Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)

People stand in line at a polling place. (credit: Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth voters head to the polls Saturday to elect a new mayor. The next city leader will have to deal with several big issues facing the city.

But when it comes to elections, it may be the big issues that drive voters away from the polls.

One of the issues facing the incoming mayor – the results of a major environmental study on natural gas drilling expected to be released next month. The information could force drastic changes in the city’s drilling policies.

The new mayor will also have to deal with a city employee pension system that threatens to break the bank. Currently Fort Worth could end up owing hundreds of millions of dollars that it cannot pay.

Population growth in the city threatens to strangle growth and money for road improvements or a rail system is increasingly hard to come by.

“The issues are very, very large with pensions, crime, the streets and traffic congestion,” said political analyst Allan Saxe.

Another big problem for candidates is the fact there is no one issued prompting voters to go to the poll.

“There isn’t just a one big overriding issue that stands out there,” said Saxe. “Like some years ago, some people might not remember, the one thing that got everybody’s attention, of all things, [was] waste pickup — garbage pickup.”

Perhaps that because trash collection affects everyone, but unless there’s a natural gas rig in a voter’s backyard, there’s little to compel the person to the polls.

Saxe says, “It’s hard to elevate those issues to where people are going to the polls because of, say, potholes. It’s just hard for people to relate to it.”

Analysts are predicting that the lack of a defined issue will likely mean low voter turnout on Saturday, and a run-off election in the mayor’s race.

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