County elections chief reports dismal turnout in Nov. 5 election

As the dust settles from the Nov. 5 election, one Mahoning County statistic should disturb politicians and voters. Chris Davidson has the story.

Joyce Kale-Pesta, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, says government squabbling on the federal level translates to voter apathy at the local level. – TheNewsOutlet.org file photo

Joyce Kale-Pesta, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, says government squabbling on the federal level translates to voter apathy at the local level. – TheNewsOutlet.org file photo

Fewer than 30 percent of the eligible voters in Mahoning County showed up at the polls last week. Board of Elections director Joyce Kale-Pesta wasn’t surprised.

KALE-PESTA: It’ s not unusual for an off-year election when there is no state issue or no issue driving the voters.

Just because she wasn’t surprised doesn’t mean she likes it.

KALE-PESTA: Not voting is a reflection on any democracy. I feel that people don’t take advantage of the right that they have to vote and I wish more people did vote. That’s my job – to get people to vote.

She says both parties run “get out the vote: campaigns, but…

KALE-PESTA: … We can’t drag people out of their homes. 

Kale-Pesta says bickering on the national level filters down to local voters.

KALE-PESTA: I think government makes people apathetic. I think probably what’s going in Washington doesn’t help. You know, I mean, I think that people just say, “Oh well, my vote doesn’t count,” but every vote counts and sometimes they don’t understand that.

Kale Pesta would like to see 50 to 70 percent of the voters turn out in primaries and non-presidential election years rather than the 29.27 percent who voted last week.

For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Chris Davidson.

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