Turnout OK, but we can do better

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More than 37,000 of Shelby County’s registered voters turned out to vote in the March 13 primary election, giving themselves the chance to help determine the outcome of several county, state and national primary races.

That number of voters equals almost 36 percent of Shelby County’s registered voter pool — a turnout rate nearly 5 percent higher than the Alabama turnout rate of just more than 31 percent during the March 13 election.

While we’re happy to see Shelby County voters turning out at a comparatively high rate, we agree with Shelby County Republican Party chairman Freddy Ard’s comments: “We were glad the voter turnout was higher than average, but I don’t think anybody can relish in the fact that it’s only one-third of the people that are registered that are voting.”

Ard is correct. While 35 percent of voters heading to the polls may be a respectable turnout, we should expect more from one of Alabama’s most educated counties.

We hope more Shelby County voters will turn out to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, voicing their preferences in the presidential race and varied other races. Shelby County is a state and national leader in so many ways. We should also be a leader in voting percentage. If you voted in the March 13 primary, thank you for carrying out your civic right; if you didn’t vote, make sure you’re registered and then get ready to vote later this year.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.