North Texas Daily

Denton County voters show up less than average in recent election

Denton County voters show up less than average in recent election

There is now early voting for the Constitutional Amendment Election. There are "vote" signs outside the Denton County Elections Administration building in Denton, Texas for voters to come in and vote on Oct. 23. This location is out of many early voting locations around Denton County. Brigitte Zumaya

Denton County voters show up less than average in recent election
November 20
16:07 2017

The city of Denton experienced some of its lowest voting numbers during the early election and on election day this year.

On Oct. 23, first day of early elections, roughly 700 residents in Denton County went out to vote. After polls had closed on election day, there was not much more of a difference.

On the ballot this year was a constitutional amendment vote to amend the city charter. In the city of Denton, a total of 4,826 out of 99,054 registered voters cast their votes.

The total amount of ballots cast on election day throughout Denton County was 20,533 out of 466,646 registered voters, or four percent of voters.

Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips said the normal turnout for an election is six to 10 percent of the population.

“For a constitutional amendment election, numbers are pretty generally low,” Phillips said. “But four percent is really low.”

There were five propositions to amend in the charter, all passing except one. The lone amendment that did not pass was to change the requirement for a petition for a recall election to be 35 percent instead of 25 percent.

The new Denton County Republican Chairman John Dillard also said the turnout from this election was disappointing.

“We just saw a terrible turnout, it’s like it was not that important of an election,” Dillard said. “People don’t turnout. If you don’t get in the habit, like church or other things, you don’t do it. You won’t get the government you deserve.”

For Denton resident Deborah Armintor the most important part of this election was voting for an ethics ordinance, which she expressed when she previously ran for city council in 2016.

Since not everyone can go vote and miss work or responsibilities on Election Day, Armintor said she encourages her friends who can to go vote early.

“A pet peeve of mine is when people get on the cases of busy people who can’t go vote,” Armintor said. “But, of course, I think they should vote. Voters benefit from that.”

The following propositions were present on the ballot on Nov. 7 and will be part of a city charter revision.

Proposition A clarified council member residency qualifications in regards to the council member’s domicile (principal residence), where the council member must have resided for at least one year prior to the election. This passed with 95.09 percent of the vote.

Proposition B was to increase the percentage of petitioners required to trigger a Recall Election from 25 percent to 35 percent. This did not pass with 58.86 percent voting against it.

Proposition C was to clarify the Internal City Auditor shall be a permanent, full-time position and clarify the responsibilities. This passed with 84.93 percent of the vote.

Proposition D was to repeal a City Charter and replace it with a provision requiring the adoption of an Ethics Ordinance by the City Council. This passed with 87.02 percent of the vote.

Proposition E was to add to the City Charter providing for council members to receive an initial monthly stipend of $750.00 and the mayor to receive an initial monthly stipend of $1,000.00 during their respective terms of office, as well as providing for restrictions on subsequent increases to the stipend amount. This passed with 56.93 percent.

Despite the low voter turnout, this election was also the first to initiate the use of the new voting equipment, Hart InterCivic’s Verity, the first in the nation to use it.

No major issues were reported with counting this year, unlike in last years election, which required three recounts.

“We got a lot of good comments from the public,” Phillips said. “Poll workers also adapted to it very quickly.”

The next election is the Texas Primaries on March 6, 2018.

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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