As predicted by election officials, only 33.5 percent of registered voters voted on Tuesday for the city’s mayor for the next four years.
Danville Election Commission Director Barbara Dreher said based on citywide elections such as this in the past, voter turnout is about 32-33 percent.
“That is a bit surprising that people wouldn’t show up,” Dreher said.
Then again, Dreher said, some voters just don’t get out and vote.
Dreher also wasn’t surprised at the large range of voter turnouts in the city’s 34 precincts.
Ward 7, Precinct 17, in the Denvale and Old Ottawa Road area, saw a 58.87 percent voter turnout. Of the precinct’s 846 registered voters, 498 persons voted.
Ward 7, Precinct 7 in the Boiling Springs Road area, also saw 58.39 percent voter turnout. There were 341 ballots cast, of 584 registered voters.
The lowest voter turnout was in the Fair Oaks and east side area, Ward 4, Precinct 25, which saw 7.86 percent voter turnout. Of 636 registered voters, 50 persons voted in the precinct.
In Ward 3, Precinct 22 saw 18.35 percent voter turnout, while Precincts 14 and 15 in Ward 1 saw 19 and 20 percent voter turnouts, respectively.
“Ward 7 (on the city’s north side) does seem to have all the precincts that tend to be higher voter turnout usually,” Dreher said.
Ward 7 this time also saw a contested alderman race between incumbent Ron Candido and retired state legislator Bill Black.
“Infrequent voters tend to vote in the presidential election every four years,” Dreher said.
Dreher said “you can scream at them” about how a local election, such as for mayor and school board, “is more central to their daily lives than the national election, but some people (aren’t) convinced ...”
Danville Housing Authority executive director Greg Hilleary didn’t have much to say about the voter turnout in the Fair Oaks area. He did point out those registered voters cast ballots at the fire station on Griffin Street and it’s a long walk if they don’t have transportation.
“I know we had a few residents getting other residents registered (to vote),” Hilleary said.
“We didn’t have any requests for any transportation needs,” he added.
Gerry Lawrence, president of the Oaklawn Improvement Neighborhood Association in Ward 4, said her area on the east side of the city has about 50 percent rental properties.
“That has a lot to do with it,” Lawrence said of more transient persons possibly not voting. “There’s not a lot of ownership.”
Lawrence thinks as many neighborhood association members voted who could. A 91-year-old voter mailed in a ballot.
“Unfortunately our neighborhood has changed a considerable amount in the last few years,” Lawrence said. “We’ve lost our middle-class people.”
She said the neighborhood has more low-income persons and problems with drugs and other issues.
Lawrence thinks there also was more confusion with this election having four mayoral candidates instead of the usual two from which to choose.
“I’m very disappointed in the (voter) turnout as a whole, but the north end always has a lot more turnout,” she said.
However, she’s looking forward to working with Ward 4’s new alderman, Michael O’Kane.