Flooding takes toll on voter turnout

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 2:04am
Staff reports

Voting was apparently not top of mind for many Nashvillians still picking up and drying out the pieces of their flooded homes and lives.

“People, let’s face it, the flood is on their minds,” Davidson County Election Commission Administrator Ray Barrett said prior to Tuesday’s primary elections.

Only 6.62 percent or 23,065 of Davidson County’s 348,487 registered voters cast ballots in a race that knocked incumbent Vic Lineweaver out of the running for juvenile court clerk. It also set up a battle between David Smith, a general sessions court worker, and Metro Councilman Eric Crafton.

But even with those races on the line very few voters exercised their civic duty. The low turnout was no surprise for election officials who had predicted a low turnout — only about 30,000 voters were expected before historic flooded disrupted the election cycle.

When the election was bumped two weeks from May 4 to May 18, election officials expected that might further reduce voter turnout. Barrett, who had made the earlier prediction, said he didn’t “know how to read [turnout] now.”

Flooding aside, May primaries don’t typically draw the kind of numbers seen when there’s a big ticket race on the ballot.

“No. The May primaries are usually not that large, but with the flooding, people have other things on their minds,” Barrett said.

When contacted late Tuesday night, Barrett did not have numbers readily available to compare to previous years.

1 Comment on this post:

By: govskeptic on 5/19/10 at 6:31

While the floods make for a good excuse for low turnout, I suggest it's
only a very small part. Nashvillians as a whole are always apothetic toward anything other than general elections for President or Governor. The famous statement that "all politics is local" may have been true in Boston, but it certainly doesn't resonate in Metro. Lots of talk but always little walk in our local races. These inactions/votes leave all the power within the same small circle year after year!