NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – North Texans head to the polls on Saturday to vote in municipal elections.
It seems you can’t drive through many North Texas neighborhoods with out passing sign after sign. But it seems most voters don’t care enough to go the polls – turnout in municipal elections are traditionally low.
City council seats are up for grabs this year in Dallas. Voters in Arlington, Fort Worth, Keller and Plano will be picking their next mayor. Selections for school board trustees and bond issues are also on the ballot.
In May of 2015, during the last joint municipal election, there were less than 78,000 ballots cast or about a 6.76 percent voter turnout. So far this year Dallas County Election officials are reporting early voting totals at just over 52,000.
Local elections don’t see the kind of turnout that comes with for presidential or even statewide elections. University of Texas at Arlington political scientist Allan Saxe said getting a nine or 10-percent voter turnout is considered good. “Local elections usual capture a small cadre of people interested in a particular issue or a candidate. Once in a while there’s a very competitive election, a mayor’s race or something like that, and even that only brings out at the top maybe 20 – 25 percent at the most.”
Saxe explained that there are a lot of reasons people choose to sit out local elections, but it isn’t because municipalities aren’t making an effort. “We’ve done everything possible to try and get more people to vote and to participate,” he said. “We have early voting, it’s easier to register now and we have early voting at various polling places around the county and if people don’t vote that is their business.”
Early voting ended on Tuesday. The will be open on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.