Low turnout predicted for general elections - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Low turnout predicted for general elections

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Hinesburg's Town Hall was a steady stream of activity Tuesday morning as voters cast their ballots. Most voters said they were here because they wanted to have their say, not because they felt strongly about a single issue.

"I think everyone should go and exercise their privilege and their honor to vote," said Jim Ross, a Hinesburg voter.

"I've been a little in my own cocoon, so there wasn't anything super-pressing in my mind," said Emily Anderson, a Hinesburg voter.

At the Orchard School in South Burlington voters expressed much of the same sentiment, though some did say they hoped to see changes.

"I'd like to find a better way to fund our schools that seems more equitable," said Andy Johnson, a South Burlington voter.

"I hope always it's a good turnout because that shows that people are interested in exercising their democratic rights, but if you don't have a lot of hotly contested races it's not going to bring people out in huge numbers," said Maurice Mahoney, of the South Burlington Board of Civil Authority.

Last election cycle in 2012 about 65 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls. But that was a presidential year. In the last non-presidential year, about 49 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls here in Vermont. And this year, they're expecting it to be about that number.

"The goal is 100 percent and we would always like to see it higher. But if you look back through history you'll see that it falls around 50 percent in the off-presidential year and it's about 65-70 percent for the presidential year," said Secretary of State Jim Condos.

But voters say the people who don't participate can't complain later on.

"You pay local taxes, you want to have a say in the process. Your kids go to the school. You drive on the roads. You call the police, you call the fire department. If you're not involved, shame on you," said Brenda Withey, a South Burlington voter.

This is the first election where towns are required to submit results to the state on election night. The polls close at 7 p.m.

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