I keep hearing people complain about the "low voter turnout" for the last election and blaming it for the failure of the bond issues. In a city of 90,000 why did only about 10,500 people vote on these issues. Let's take a closer look.
First off, 90,000 is the total population of San Angelo, not the number of people who could vote. You have to remember that those younger than 18 can't vote. Then add in those that have lost their voting privilege for felony convictions or mental disorders. Add in those that aren't here legally or haven't been here long enough to be residents, and you end up with around 55,000 eligible voters. According to the city website, there were 51,686 registered voters in the last election. Of that number, 27% voted. This is the highest turn out for a spring election in at least 10 years. This is higher than the 21% that turned out for the last sales tax election, a very hotly contested issue. Texas averages about 14% as a state for spring elections. Even our last November election only had 33% of those registered vote. We have to go back to the last presidential election before we break 50%. Off year and non-general elections just don't get much turn out.
The reality is that this last election had a much higher that expected turn out. I am sure the mayor's race was a factor, but it seems the big issue was the school bonds. Our local voters don't usually go to the polls in the spring unless there is something on the ballot that really grabs their attention. Normal spring elections are a yawn, so they leave it to the die-hard voters to decide the issues. This spring, the SAISD information campaign grabbed the voters attention. They turned out in record numbers. The results tell what they thought of the information campaign.