Archive for Thursday, December 29, 2005

Baldwin can be proud of voter turnout

December 29, 2005

Whether you were pleased with the outcome of Thursday's Sunday alcohol sales vote or not, everyone can be pleased with the voter turnout Baldwin City displayed.

From the outset, election officials feared that not many people would come to the polls because of the odd Dec. 22 date for the election. Christmas time is just simply a busy time and lots of people leave for grandmother's house, or the Bahamas or whatever.

No one wanted to predict what the turnout would be. No one had been through a December election before. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew wisely wouldn't touch it. He also personally monitored the polling places Thursday to get an idea of how many voters were showing up.

His staff had done the research and found that the lowest voter turnout ever was 7 percent for a bond election for Lawrence. Whether that would happen here, too, was an unknown.

But, by mid afternoon Thursday, it was apparent that at least 10 percent of the 2,404 registered voters in Baldwin were making the trip.

That was good, because advance voting had fallen on its face. Only 36 advance votes were made and only six of those in person. And, four of the absentee ballots were thrown out, two because they were returned to sender and two because they weren't signed.

There were also four provisional votes Thursday. There were questions regarding whether the voters were registered or not. At the canvass Tuesday by the Douglas County Commission, three were allowed while no registration could be found on the fourth one.

So, when the dust finally settled, there were 381 votes cast for just a shade over 15 percent turnout. That's not bad. Not bad at all.

There were 200 in favor of Sunday alcohol sales and 181 against. It's not too hard to figure that the 150 who signed the protest petition were the majority of that 181 count. It's good that there were 200 Baldwin residents who felt strongly enough about the issue to vote it in, once and for all.

We can be proud of the turnout. We can be proud that the people were allowed to speak. Now, it's time to move on.

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