Election 2013: Low turnout at polls for GBAD vote

kterhune@idahostatesman.comMay 21, 2013 

— Poll workers at the Jefferson Elementary School polling station read and worked on their knitting as they waited for voters to trickle in Tuesday. By midday, the site had only had 15 people cast their ballots.

“It’s just not a very controversial election,” Chief Judge Tena Jacobson said. “We’re doing better than some of the ladies.” In a few locations, polls did not get their first voter until after 11 o’clock, three hours after they opened, she said.

Precinct 1708 also received a number of absentee ballots, Jacobson said. Still, the addition of out-of-state ballots only brought the polling station to near 100 total, far less than the precinct’s 1,400 registered voters.

“We fully expected this to be a slow election,” Jacobson said. She blamed a lack of publicity for the poor turnout.

Across town, the outlook was not much better. At Pierce Park Baptist Church, only a few people had voted by 10 a.m. in precinct 1907.

In adjacent 1906, the first voter of the day was applauded by poll workers when he cast the precinct's first ballot shortly after 10 a.m.

Chief Judge Nancy Crockett at the Covenant Presbyterian Church said she was surprised at the low turnout.

“It has just dribbled in,” she said. “The most we had were two at a time.”

Less than 50 walk-in voters had cast their ballot at the station by noon, she said. Crockett said she had expected a better turnout from the 1503 precinct.

“This is really low,” she said. “We almost always have a really high percentage.”

Crockett said the station might receive more voters after school and work let out.

The GBAD election was the only item on the ballot in all three locations.

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