Tuesday’s voter turnout was down in Scotland County from 2010 totals, according to Board of Election Director Dell Parker, who speculated that many of those who did come to the polls Tuesday were motivated by the controversial marriage amendment up for referendum.
Down from 8,555 (or 37.8 percent) in turnout in 2010, only 6,755 registered voters cast ballots in Scotland County of the 22,255 registered.
“I think we were all a little disappointed with the turnout totals,” said Whit Gibson, who won the Democratic primary election for the at-large seat on the Scotland County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, and spent much of his time at polling places with his campaign workers.
According to Parker, early voting participation was also down until last Friday and Saturday, when turnout did pick up.
“We had really good days last Friday and Saturday, with 425 voting on Friday and 265 voting on Saturday, which was a half-day,” said Parker. A total of 2,542 ballots were cast during the early voting period.
Turnout on election day followed a similar pattern, with discouraging signs early as voters trickled in Tuesday morning.
“As the day progressed, turnout increased, and while turnout was low overall, voting occurred with relatively few issues … Everything went smoothly on the day,” said Parker.
The only election day issues were some minor problems with ballots getting “hung up” in the ballot-reading machine, Parker noted Tuesday evening, as well as some issues with campaign representatives failing to respect the boundary restricting their activity within a certain distance from the voting places.
“Sometimes they needed to be reminded more than once, but after that they listened,” noted Parker.
“We try to put the voters first and we do everything we can to make the voters happy, and this year we think we were successful at doing that,” said Parker.
Parker also wished to remind campaigns that, thanks to a recently enacted state law, “all campaign materials and signs must be retrieved 10 days from election day.”