• 46°

Lawrence County voter numbers higher than expected

45 percent of registered voters cast ballots in midterm election

The number of Lawrence County voters in the 2018 general election was higher than expected.

When it comes to elections, the greatest number of voters turn out for presidential elections and midterms elections general attract a lot less. In 2016, 27,239 of 44,144 or 61 percent, of the registered voters turned out. In the 2014 midterm elections, 14,771 of 47,839, or 30.88 percent of registered Lawrence County voters turned out.

This midterm election on Tuesday 45 percent of voters, 20,658 of 45,881 registered voters cast their ballots.

“That’s a big number of votes for a midterm election,” said Randall Lambert, one of the four members of the Lawrence County Board of Elections, adding they had expected between 18,000-19,000 Lawrence Countians to vote.

“We figured it would be a higher turnout than it was in 2014,” he said. “Midterms are always lower. So we anticipated around 40 percent of the vote.”

He said that what draws in people to vote in the midterms is generally the governor’s race.

“Four years ago, I think the race (between John Kasich and Ed FitzGerald) was pretty much a foregone conclusion of who was going to win. So it didn’t bring people out to vote,” he said.  “This year, the race was much more hotly contested.”

Lambert said it was expected nationwide that more voters would cast ballots this midterm election “and we expected that here as well.”

He said he didn’t know if all the talk about the elections had an effect on the number who came out to vote.

“In a smaller county like Lawrence County, it depends on the local races,” Lambert said. “I think it was a strong Republican vote in Lawrence County which followed a statewide and countrywide trend.

“The areas that went strong for President Donald Trump two years ago, they stayed Republican,” he said.

Lambert said that even 45 percent of voters turning out is too low for an election.

“It think it should be around 60 percent,” he said. “But it really just depends on what generates voter interest. But 45 percent is a good number for an off year and we are well pleased with that.”