WILMINGTON — Despite campaign ads on TV and radio waves about three statewide issues, including one to legalize marijuana, plus several contested local races, less than half of Clinton County’s registered voters exercised that right Tuesday.
According to Clinton County party chairs Tim Inwood, Republican, and Ann Reno, Democrat, 47 percent is good for a non-presidential, non-gubernatorial year. Turnout was similar in 2011, when Mayor Randy Riley ran against then-Mayor David Raizk.
Reno, who also serves as a member of the Clinton County Board of Elections, and Inwood attributed the turnout to the state issues.
But those issues also caused concerns for Reno, who said she received phone calls from Republicans and Democrats who were confused by the state issues, especially Issue 2, which was called the “anti-monopoly” issue by some.
“Sometimes, the way (state issues) are written, they’re hard to understand,” Reno said.
“In the future, if we have state issues, perhaps we can get some state reps … to come down and maybe not have a political forum but a question-and-answer forum and have them explain the state issues a little better.”
Reno said when voters are confused about what’s on the ballot, sometimes they don’t vote the way they intend to.
Inwood said that rather than increasing turnout, he’d rather see voters become more informed.
“As far as driving up the turnouts, I don’t know that I really want to drive up turnout for the sake of doing that unless the citizens are keeping themselves well informed,” he said.
Inwood said nothing frustrates him more than when he hears someone who voted say they weren’t aware of something on the ballot and voted for it anyway, often on name recognition. He says voters who “vote blindly by party line” are one of the larger factors behind the country’s current status.
“It’s a matter of knowing where you’re going to get your information to make sure it’s accurate,” he said. “I would urge people to be good citizens and to stay on top of things and to try and keep themselves informed if they’re going to vote, because that’s the responsible thing to do.”
Less than 12,000 ballots were cast out of 25,000 registered voters, according to unofficial results posted on the Clinton County Board of Elections’ website. Turnout was 47 percent.
The results of the election will be certified at 9 a.m. Nov. 17, according to election officials. At that time, any provisionally cast ballots will also be counted.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.