Video: Voter turnout low for 2013 election

Nicole Septaric


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Video by Nicole Septaric.

Out of 108,594 registered voters, only 31,333 ballots were cast for Portage County on Election Day Tuesday, putting voter turnout at 28.85 percent.

“It’s a product of a number of things,” said Brad Cromes, Deputy Director of the Portage County Board of Elections. “We didn’t have one big galvanizing issue or candidacy race on the ballot so when that’s the case in these off-year elections folks tend to be a little bit more likely to turn out anyway.”

In 2011, the last off-year election, Cromes said Portage County had about 40 percent voter turnout. He attributes this to Senate Bill 5 referendum on the ballot, which had 49,966 votes. The bill that would have restricted the collective bargaining rights of state public employees such as police officers, firefighters and teachers was rejected by a 62.4 percent vote.

Cromes said it’s important for more people to engage in off-year elections because of the local level impact, such as local tax rates, road maintenance and school district hiring, which are handled by elected local officials.

“From my perspective obviously the important focus there is that everyone should vote and that these local issues have a huge impact on people’s lives on a day-to-day basis,” Cromes said. “That’s the important take-home message from me: engaging in something that everyone should do and we encourage that every way we can.”

Contact Rebecca Reis at [email protected].