The League of Women Voters of the Plymouth Area was dismayed when it saw the percentage of those who voted in the elections last May was a mere 15 percent. Historically, this amount was not that unusual, as that rate fluctuates between 12-15 percent, but this year there was an important ballot question concerning changes to the town’s charter as well as several seats for select board and school committee on the ballot. The changes to the charter were pretty substantial and love them or hate them, we had hoped folks would express their opinion, and while they were at it, vote for those who govern our town.
The League posted flyers posted on Facebook, partnered with various community organizations to send email blasts, hung banners, and put out lawn signs reminding residents of the election. We held a candidate’s forum and numerous charter information sessions. In addition, we sent questions to candidates and put their answers in a Voters’ Guide on our website.
The town clerk, Kelly McElreath, also worked hard to make it easy to vote with two weeks of in-person early voting, which about 600 people took advantage of. She even got the town transfer station to post a reminder of election day on its electronic sign.
Still only 15 percent of the voters- roughly 7,500 out of the approximately 49,000 eligible to vote, cast a ballot. Lest you think that Plymotheans don’t vote at other times, the turn out for even-year State and Federal elections can top 80 percent.
In order to understand why local town elections drew so few voters, the League has created a survey, which we urge all to take, to give us hard data to base next steps on. The survey can be found on its homepage.
With your input, we hope to identify and take actions that will remind and encourage our voters to make themselves heard.
Your vote is your voice – let’s use it!
The writers are board members of the League of Women Voters Plymouth Area.
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