Something wrong when so few vote in Yuma County
There was something notable about Yuma County in the Nov. 6 General Election, and that is that it had the lowest voter turnout in the state.
Only 56.3 percent of eligible voters in our county decided to vote. Compare that number with the more than 74 percent who voted statewide.
Secretary of State Ken Bennett released the voter turnout numbers earlier this week, noting that even the state's overall number was a little disappointing, given that in the last presidential election in 2008 nearly 78 percent voted.
More than 65 percent of Yuma County voters cast their ballots in that 2008 election. And the numbers were even higher in the 2004 presidential election when 72 percent voted.
Why did Yuma County voters have such a poor turnout this time? It is hard to know, but clearly when nearly half of those who could vote chose not to do so, there is something wrong.
There were several things in this year's election that were different than in the past which might partially explain it.
A new election polling site system was put in place where voters could go to any of 11 universal polling places rather than to nearly 40 specified sites. It is possible this was confusing to some voters. They were also long lines and delays, but that was also the case in 2008. Inevitably some probably turned away rather than voting.
Also, voting district lines were redrawn as part of redistricting. This created some new districts locally which some might have found confusing.
Still, we doubt that explains it all. Perhaps voters simply didn't feel they had adequate choices. And some have speculated the “negativity” in the election process this year may have turned people off.
Whatever the reasons, the outcome here was disappointing. Why aren't voters here as committed to their duty as those in many other parts of the state?