Cheers to all the candidates who participated in this year’s primary election and congratulations to those who have either joined as new board members, incumbents in new positions, or incumbents selected to serve another term.
The Board of Commissioners and Board of Education are two of the biggest decision makers in Bryan County. What these boards vote for or against can impact every resident living within county limits.
Yet, Chief Registrar Warren Miller and Probate Judge Sam Davis both said there was poor turnout from local voters. They attributed it to only one contested countywide position on the ballot, the seat for Vice Chair on the BoE.
But there were two other contested seats on the BoE, and one on the Board of Commissioners – so it still doesn’t add up, if you ask us.
Bryan County has 15,836 active registered voters. Only 2,597 of those active voters actually made it out to the polls Tuesday to cast a ballot, or made sure they voted absentee or advanced the week before.
That's a shame. This nation is known for its democratic privileges and anyone 18-years-old or more who is a resident of Bryan County is eligible to have a voice in how decisions for our county are made.
It’s not just a privilege – it’s a right – and an important one.
Here’s a list of the numbers of active voters in Bryan County, broken down by precinct, as of July 1:
- Precinct 1, Pembroke West: 809
- Precinct 2, Pembroke East: 1,352
- Precinct 3, Ellabell: 1,952
- Precinct 4, Blitchton Fire Station: 791
- Precinct 5, Ways Station: 2,517
- Precinct 6, Daniel Siding: 980
- Precinct 7 Richmond Hill Recreation Complex: 2,017
- Precinct 8, Hwy. 144 East: 1,466
- Precinct 9, Hwy 144: 2,691
- Precinct 10, J.F. Gregory Park: 1,263
Miller pointed out that voter rolls are broken down into active and inactive voters. If a resident hasn’t voted in several years (about three to five), or their address doesn’t match up, they are considered inactive and no longer counted in this list.
If you take a look at this list and consider, again, the fact that only 16.4 percent of the people included on it voted, we wonder why more Bryan Countians didn’t take the initiative to use the voice they’re given.
We know there are lots of active parents and residents who are interested in the future of the county: Where it’s headed, what information surrounds big decisions about development, education, water and sewer and so on. But where were they on Election Day?
Regardless of how many people came out to the polls this week, it’s clear those voters wanted to see a change in some areas, while keeping things the same in other areas. We’re just surprised 100 percent of voters in Bryan County let less than 17 percent make the final decision.
Jessica Holthaus for the Bryan County News