Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Pathetic turnout is simply pathetic


August 27, 2020

To say voter turnout Tuesday in Atmore, Brewton and Flomaton was pathetic is an understatement. Atmore and Flomaton came in at about 34 percent and Brewton dipped to around 26 percent with a whopping 14.4 percent turning out in Brewton's council District 5 that showed incumbent Cheryl Barton defeating Richard Royce 81-30.

I scratch my head after every election wondering why people don't vote. I scratch my head more when people don't vote in municipal elections. These are the people who decide how much we pay for water, how much we pay for sewer and in some instances decide how much we pay for gas. They decide which road needs to be paved, which road needs to be patched and which ditch needs to be cleaned out.

Mayors and councils are where the rubber meets the road in terms of what we do on a daily basis.

My bet is the same people who didn't vote are the ones who complain the most when they want help from city hall. I just don't understand.

I've heard every excuse under the sun but none satisfy me. I'd like to think COVID-19 had something to do with it, but when 14.4 percent of the people in a council district in Brewton bother to show up and vote, that's a very sad statement.

I also hear the statement sometimes that 'my one vote won't matter'. All you have to do is look at Flomaton's elections Tuesday to see how important each and every vote is.

The unofficial returns in Flomaton show that Dewey Bondurant, Jr., was re-elected as mayor and Kay Wagner won the District 4 seat. In the mayor's race, Chris Burnham missed forcing a runoff by two votes and in the District 4 council race, incumbent Councilman C.E. 'Buster' Crapps came up two votes short of forcing a runoff with Wagner.

Think about that. If one of Bondurant's voters had voted for Burnham, we'd have a runoff and if one of Wagner's voters had voted for Crapps we'd have another runoff. Don't tell me one vote doesn't count.

There was also some confusion among some people Tuesday night in Flomaton concerning 'under votes' in the mayor's race and in the council race.

The results showed there were two 'under votes' in the mayor's race. That tells me that two people who voted in the District 4 council race did not vote in the mayor's race. Those two votes would have made a difference. There was also one 'under vote' in the council race. That tells me someone living in District 4 went to the polls and voted in the mayor's race but did not cast a ballot in the council race.

That makes me scratch my head a little more. You don't normally see a lot of 'under votes' in municipal elections. You see a lot of them in primaries and General Elections.

As I explained to someone Wednesday morning, when people go to the polls in primaries they are voting on everything from the president of the United States to county commissioners. They get to the end of the ballot and they see a lot of associate justices to this court and that court. They don't know who these people are so they don't vote.

But I don't understand how someone from District 4 in Flomaton could go to the polls and not vote in the mayor's race. I equally can't understand why someone in that district would go to the polls and vote for mayor, but not their council representative.

These few votes could have easily forced a runoff in both the races on Tuesday's ballot. But I guess people simply don't care.

Flomaton only had one provisional ballot cast Tuesday so whether or not it's counted in this election, it won't change the outcome.

But for the sake of making that argument, let's say the person who cast the provisional ballot is proven to be a legal registered voter in Flomaton. Let's also say that person votes in council District 4. If that person voted for Burnham and Crapps, both men would have missed the runoff by one vote.

Don't tell me one vote doesn't count.


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