Update from The Catawba County Board of Elections:  Turnout is low

Staff Writer

According to their website, “The Catawba County Board of Elections is committed to efficiently conducting fair, honest, and impartial elections so that all qualified Catawba County citizens may exercise their right to vote.”

Amanda Duncan has been the director for six years now.  She loves her job and helping the community take part in the election process.

“I just love all aspects of the job interacting all the way with the public,” she said. 

Among Duncan's many duties, one of her biggest is to make sure that everyone knows about the elections and to make sure everything follows protocol.

“We are always making sure that Catawba County has fair elections,” she said. 

Even during non-election times, Duncan says she has more than enough work by preparing for what's to come. 

“There's always things to be done in our office,” she said. 

During the year, the board checks to make sure that all information is updated and correct. 

“We're making sure that felons, the deceased, and those who've moved out of state are off the list,” Duncan said.  “There are all kinds of jobs we do here.”

Another example of what the board checks on is those with dual residency. 

For those citizens with dual residency, they must choose their voting precinct based on where they spend the most time. 

“We usually consider the address where they live the most as their voting location,” Duncan said. 

Even with getting all the paperwork in order, she still makes time to visit the polls.  During the October election, Duncan has visited all 10 polls.

“I just wanted to make sure everything was up and running and everything was ok,” she said. 

Duncan said she is “sad this year that the turnout was low,” and wants to inform more citizens that their votes do count.

“People think that their votes don’t count, but one vote makes a difference,” Duncan said. 

She gave an example of the recent Ward 3 precinct voting in Hickory. 

Out of 13,166 registered voters, only 850 people voted.

“It was a 16 to 16 race between Nathan Hefner and opponent Daria Jackson,” Duncan said. 

Because the votes were tied, they had to have a coin toss to decide the winner. 

“Whoever filed for candidacy first got to choose heads or tails-- we usually don’t have this,” Duncan said.  “Daria chose heads, they flipped the coin, and Nathan won.  He will now be on the November ballot.”

She said for local elections, the margins of winning are very small.

As of Monday, October 28, only 2.56 percent of Catawba County voters have voted.

Out of 7,633 registered Newton voters, only six percent have voted so far.

Along with Duncan, mayoral candidate, John Stiver, wants to also encourage more citizens to vote.

“I think the voter turnout has been light,” he said.  “I would like to see more people turnout in exercising their right to vote.”

Stiver said that municipal votes really help the citizens, because they provide direct services to the community.

“These elections help with community services such as fire and rescue, police, and many other important resources,” he said.