Only 8.28 percent election turnout in Phelps County

Voter turnout for Tuesday’s general municipal election may not have been the lowest ever, but it was one of the lowest, according to Phelps County Clerk Carol Bennett.

Out of the 28,773 registered voters in the county, 2,383 ballots were cast. That translates to an 8.28 percent turnout rate.

Bennett said she was disappointed with the turnout. “The weather was nice. There were no excuses,” she said.

One of the higher turnout rates was in the St. James area. Voters in that area had school board races and a school bond issue on their ballots.

Bennett noted that a typical April municipal election costs roughly $80,000, yet only about 8 percent of the voters turned out this time.That means the county spent about $33 per vote cast.

Despite the low turnout, Bennett said the election ran smoothly. “The (election) judges did a great job,” she said.

In the April 2012 election, there was a 9.4 percent turnout rate and in the April 2011 election, 18.91 percent of registered voters turned out to the polls.

Turnout often depends on the number of races and issues on the ballot. Since the same number of candidates filed for the Rolla Board of Education and Phelps County Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees this year, there was no election held in those districts.

Bennett noted in some parts of the county, the only race on the ballot was a write-in vote for the Phelps County Emergency Services Board (PCESB).

In races for the Rolla City Council, turnout varied from 32 total votes cast for a two-person city council race in Ward 6 to 211 total votes cast for a two-person council race in Ward 3.