City leaders concerned about low voter turnout during municipal elections

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Municipal elections introduce new candidates and often give incumbents a chance to continue to serve.

However, getting voters to the polls on election day is a growing issue across North Mississippi.

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Only a fraction of voters is participating, leaving local races slim to none.

In many towns, Tuesday’s primary election participation was abysmal.

Road infrastructure, bridges, and even tax increases all depend on the city leaders you elect.

However, when folks don’t show up to cast their ballots, getting a candidate in office may not happen.

It all comes down to the last vote.

That’s what Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill is saying after learning of Tuesday’s low voter percentage.

” There wasn’t a collective interest across the community about it, which kind of puts it in an odd position of getting people out. It’s always been a disappointment to me that people don’t come out and exercise their basic citizen responsibility, ” said Spruill.

For the primary elections, 8,915 Starkville voters registered in Wards 2,4,5, and 6. Only 1,001 people voted.

It seems low turnouts impacted other areas. In Louisville, 1,300 of 4,000 registered voters went to the polls.

“People must get out and understand that it makes a difference in their community and their small municipality in ways it doesn’t in the state elections, presidential elections, and national elections,” said Spruill.

Road infrastructure, tax increases, and businesses are a few of the decisions city government officials handle.

” I don’t know how you drive around the streets of Starkville, see political signs out, and not know something is going on or inquire. I certainly hear from them if their taxes go up, or I hear from them if there’s a water leak, and we’re the ones who take care of that,” said Spruill.

Sometimes, a single vote can declare a winner in close races.

” Here in Starkville, we just had a tied election in Ward, and it came down to the affidavit ballots as to who was going to win. That’s a total of two votes,” said Spruill.

Spruill is hopeful more citizens will make plans for the general election and cast their ballots.

” We’re the ones they need to pay attention to who they’re voting for and why they’re voting for us,” said Spruill.

Runoff elections are on April 27th.

General Elections will be on June 8th.

Polls open at 7 a.m.