There’s a first time for voting in your city’s election, too

Well, this could be the last time.
This could be the last time anyone encourages you to vote in today’s Morgantown City Council election.
From 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today some 18,000 eligible voters in Morgantown can cast a ballot for one of 14 candidates in each of the city’s seven wards.
Ten candidates appear on the ballot and four others are write-ins that voters can access in two of the seven wards.
In the past, we have tried about every appeal in the books to increase turnout in this important election, with little to no success.
If it wasn’t reminding residents it was their patriotic duty to vote, it was enticing them with a license to complain if they voted. Not to mention asking voters if they were simply content to let others decide for them who’s eventually seated on council.
Traditionally, the city’s election is poorly attended at the polls. Since 1979, voter turnout in only two Morgantown City Council elections, was over the 20 percent mark.
As a rule, turnout in these elections averages in the teens. In the most recent election — 2017 — about 15 percent of voters cast a ballot.
Between 1979-1995 average turnout was about 18.8. In four of those elections, voter turnout was even below that mark.
Since 1995, that average percentage of voter turnout appears to have declined even further.
We suspect today’s ballot is not going to do much to turn that trend around, either.
Two of the seats in the city’s seven wards — 4th Ward and 5th Ward — are seemingly already decided if the candidates vote for themselves. They are uncontested.
And in another ward, the 3rd, the sole candidate on the ballot has already announced he is moving to Canada at the end of his current term, June 30.
However, three official write-in candidates, who are not listed on the ballot, are vying for that seat.
In the 7th Ward, a single write-in candidate is running against the incumbent.
Only in the 1st Ward, the 2nd Ward and the 6th Ward are two candidates  running against each other  in conventional races  on the ballot in each ward.
Even early voting numbers are far below expectations with only 710 voters participating, compared to 2017’s nearly 1,200 early voters. It will take another 2,000 votes in today’s election just to break the 10 percent mark.
So now, at the 59th minute of the 11th hour we again urge a majority of Morgantown’s voters to cast a ballot today for City Council.
There’s a first time for everything.

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