Low voter turnout for May 1 Uniform Election, voters react

News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Polls closed for the May Uniform Election at 7 p.m. Saturday. The early voter turnout, according to the El Paso County Elections Department website, was about 3.21 percent, out of the 217,404 registered voters for this election.

This percentage will go up as more ballots get counted from Saturday, but El Paso County Elections Department Administrator Lisa Wise told KTSM 9 news it was a low-voter turnout, as most districts only had one race on their ballots.

“There’s just one thing to vote for, period, so I’m sure people aren’t very stimulated by that. The fact that it’s a school board member might add into that it’s not a congresswoman or something like that,” said Nick Markovich, an El Paso voter.

Markovich could be seen voting for the EPISD Board Trustee race at a Mesita Elementary School in West El Paso on Saturday. The County Elections Department said that location was one of the busiest on Saturday. However, few people could be seen going to vote at the location.

“I, myself, don’t have any children, but my family, I have a lot of teachers in my family. I have a lot of teachers in my family and with everything that’s going on with COVID, I think we need a good, strong school board to figure out how to handle bringing the students back and making sure they have everything they need. Every vote, every time, we have to vote is important,” said voter Stella Ortega.

An EPISD teacher stopped by the same location to cast his ballot, but says he was disappointed with the low voter turnout and wished more people cast their ballots for local elections.

“The educational policies that are being built in our school system are very important,” said Javier De Campo, an El Paso voter. “We always talk about national races being very important, but what’s more important is our local elections and district elections, those are the most important because it affects us personally in our area.”

The County’s Election Department said on average these elections only see a 5-percent to 8-percent voter turnout. However, for comparison, the November general election saw a 55-percent voter turnout in El Paso.

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