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Voter turnout in Clinton County low, but not unexpected

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Lucas Willard
Voter turnout was low during the off-year election

In-person turnout on Election Day in Clinton County, New York was low but officials say that’s typical for an off-year election.

The Clinton County Board of Elections says overall turnout, including early voting, appears to be between 25 to 30 percent. Republican Elections Commissioner David Souliere IV says that’s normal for an off-year election.

“It was a little lower in certain spots, obviously where you didn’t see competitive races. But that’s to be expected. But for overall for an off election year it was pretty typical voter turnout at right around 30 percent.”

Souliere says their data indicates more people came out for in-person voting on Tuesday than opted to vote early.

“Roughly 14,000 total votes, and that’s unofficial at this point, were cast total for the election and 1,800 of those were early and right around 1,200 were absentee. So you figure only 3,000 of the total 14,000 were not on Election Day. So roughly 10,000 people voted on Election Day.”

When combining in-person and early voting the Republican commissioner says the county’s turnout follows traditional trends.

“Its pretty comparable to past years. 2021 had a 29 percent turnout. 2019 was a similar turnout rate. So it’s very, very typical. It’s not below average or above average. Off year elections traditionally have about half the turnout that you would see in an even year election. So for instance last year in 2022 we had about a 65 percent voter turnout for the midterms. And I think that’s generally speaking across the state you see that. You see about a 60 to 70 percent turnout in even years, 20 to 30 percent in your odd years.”

Clinton County Republican Party Chair Jerika Manning says she expected a light turnout because it’s an off-year election.

“I think that both parties need to do a better job at explaining to voters why off-year elections and local elections are so important. That’s what our concern is with this even year election legislation that’s coming out of New York state is that local elections are going to get lost in federal elections and we’re going to be outspent in federal elections. And these are really so important.”

County Democratic Chair Brandi Lloyd indicated that some of the low voter turnout may reflect the number of candidates in uncontested races.

“It’s just really hard in certain areas for both sides to find people to run. It’s a major commitment. And now having run a county-wide race I get it. And I think people see that maybe in church groups and fire departments. The volunteerism of people is down and we need to work towards making that something that people know that it is important, it has an impact and people need to step up.”

The Board of Elections hopes to complete certification during Thanksgiving week. Automatic recounts may be triggered, depending on absentee results, in town council races in Altona, Beekmantown and Clinton, that could delay certification.