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Turnout Fails to Match Campaign’s Festivity

In the last few days, our neighborhood went through a festive mood. Every single intersection on our main streets was decorated with lines of campaign signs. They came in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

The signs are only a small part of the campaign’s festivity. The local media has been keeping us fairly busy with news on candidate forums, interviews, endorsements and polls.

Yet, after all of this, the voter turnout wasn’t that great – at least not what we expected.

I voted with my wife in the first hour at the Methodist Church in the first hour after the poll opened. The large hall was practically empty of any voters; all you could see were the election staff and candidates’ campaign reps.

In the afternoon, on the way back from my work, I stopped by the polling stations in our district and met the folks working there. I asked  them how the poll went throughout the day. In addition to the polling stations at the Methodist Church and the Hollywood Elementary School, we had a new polling station at the Church of the Nazarene (by the Rhode Island Avenue) for the very first time. Voters from the Sunnyside neighborhood voted at this location. I asked a campaign worker and found that only about 60 voted by 6pm. I then went back to Methodist Church to see the turnout. I talked to a campaign official there and found that things were a little better – about 210 out of 1300 registered voters voted by 7:00pm – that’s about 17% of total voter turnout. It may not be a too bad figure considering that it’s a local election.

Maybe it’s just me who’s having too high of an expectation, but going by all of the bells and whistles we had in the days leading up to the election, the voter turnout comes out to be a rather low figure.

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