The My Turn “Time to bust longtime myth about early voting” published Sunday contends that one stop and early voting have reduced voter turnout in Rowan County. To argue this, the author compared the percentage of votes in municipal elections before and after the institution of these policies in 2002.
Voter turnout in municipal elections has always been low and varies widely depending on the nature of the race and whether there are even contests in all towns. The more interesting data is what has happened to voter registration and voter turn out in general elections, both in presidential and non-presidential years.
In 2003, there were 78,029 registered voters in the county. This steadily increased to 95,864 in 2021, which exceeds percentage of the growth in population. There has also been a significant increase in voter turn out for all general elections from 26,025 (31%) in 2006, to 47,943 (50%) in 2018, both non-presidential years. Presidential year elections show the same pattern: there were 52,594 voters in 2004 (66%) which increased to 73,654 (75%) in 2020. Making it possible for people to register and vote during early voting has no doubt helped to increase registrations and in turn voter turnout. Likewise, online registration and mail-in ballots have likely led to these increases. We can be proud that North Carolina has led the way in making voting easier; we can only hope that this initiative continues.
The author and I are both thankful for our Rowan County Board of Elections and the hard-working and devoted election workers. I hope we can agree that name calling is a childish act that benefits no one and that civility begins with each of us. I am proud to be a Democrat and a liberal. Holding different opinions and disagreeing about policy isn’t hateful. It is the American way.
If you are interested in being part of a concerted effort to raise the profile of Democratic values within Rowan County through written words and publication on the Rowan County Democratic webpage, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.