Voter turnout is always a topic of conversation, whether it is the primary or general election, a presidential election year or a mid-term year.
The conversation for this year’s general election should be about a giant pat on the back of the 59.28 percent of registered voters who turned out to the polls on Tuesday.
The mid-term elections, especially in Lawrence County, were a heated battle between incumbent Tom Wolf and challenger Scott Wagner for governor, incumbent Mike Kelly and challenger Ron DiNicola for Congress, and incumbent Sen. Bob Casey and challenger Lou Barletta.
Lawrence County made its voice heard.
The county has 54,760 registered voters, and 32,460 strong turned out at polling places, joining millions around the country who exercised their constitutional right to vote.
Now, we just need to figure out how to get the remaining 22,300 registered voters to the polls.
The 59.28 percent is the highest in some time for Lawrence County in an election year that doesn’t feature a presidential election. Tuesday’s turnout was the highest since a 70 percent response in 1996, a nonpresidential election year.
Even though that was 22 years ago, the political landscape has become heated again, and the county’s voter turnout is reflective of that. In addition, the voter turnout is similar to the late 1980s and mid-1990s.
In the late 1980s, voter turnout was 62.60 percent in 1986 and 63.50 percent in 1987. In 1988, voter turnout jumped to 79.60 percent, which was a presidential
Those numbers dipped a bit until 1991 when voter turnout was 71.90 percent and 85.20 percent in 1992’s presidential election year. The number then trended down a bit to 66.90 percent in 1994 and 70 percent in 1996, non-presidential election years.
However, the elections in 2000 (71.70 percent), 2004 (73.50 percent), and 2008 (68.54 percent) featured presidential elections Tuesday’s general election shows that the voters in Lawrence County are educated and apprised of what is happening in politics. Some awoke yesterday morning happy and some were sad, depending on how their candidate fared.
But each voter in the county should take solace in the fact that you voted and many more joined you.
Voter apathy has always been a problem over the decades. Many choose to not exercise their right to go to the polls and cast their vote. And that is their right.
But the apathy is becoming less of an issue in Lawrence County. Or, politics is rising.