Schedler 'completely perplexed' by low voter turnout Saturday

Schedler 'completely perplexed' by low voter turnout Saturday




Despite all the prefatory hype and controversy generated by the CATS tax on last Saturday's ballot, turnout for the special Saturday election was a mere 26%. But voter apathy wasn't limited to East Baton Rouge Parish. Average turnout statewide in the 45 parishes that held special elections was just 11%, according to Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office. "I'm just completely perplexed," says Schedler. "I used to say that turnout depended on whether there is a hotly contested issue on the ballot. But I have been proven wrong." The local 10.6-mill property tax measure to support the Capital Area Transit System was certainly a hot-button issue. So was a racially charged race for an at-large council seat in New Orleans, where fewer than one in four registered voters went to the polls. Schedler speculates the low turnout was due in part to a lack of interest in all levels of government among voters. But he also blames the excessive number of elections in Louisiana for creating what he calls "voter fatigue." Between January 2005 and December 2010, Louisiana held 70 elections, significantly more than any other state in the country during that same period. "Every weekend there is an election," Schedler says. "People are fed up with it." —Stephanie Riegel



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