Barely 19 percent of Butler County’s registered voters took to the polls on Tuesday.
The dismal showing was a tad better than the 16 percent turnout in the May primary.
Shari Brewer, the county’s director of elections, wasn’t surprised by Tuesday’s sleepy election. Days before, she had predicted a 20 percent turnout.
She and others know that in the four-year cycle of elections, the so-called “off years,” — recently 2005, 2009 and this year — tend to offer the greatest challenge for attracting voters, because of the absence of a race for president, governor or county commissioner.
Turnout in 2009 was 26.5 percent. It was 29 percent in 2005.
This year’s balloting shows a troubling trend — growing voter apathy.
Of the county’s 89 precincts, six had turnout numbers in the single digits.
The worst showing was in the Adams 2 precinct where turnout was just 7.4 percent, followed by Adams 1, which had a turnout of 8.5 percent.
Counting all three precincts in Adams Township, just 880 of 8,612 registered voters, or 10.2 percent, showed up at the polls.
In Cranberry Township, the county’s largest municipality, there were 2,081 ballots cast. There are 19,248 eligible voters in the township.
Two of Cranberry’s eight precincts had voter participation rates of 9.4 and 9.3 percent.
In Seven Fields and Slippery Rock Township, turnout was 8.8 and 9.1 percent, respectively.
The best showing at the polls was in tiny Cherry Valley, where 20 of the borough’s 44 registered voters, or 45.4 percent, cast ballots.
Washington Township also hit the 45 percent mark.
Turnout in Eau Claire and Karns City was 40.7 and 38.8 percent, respectively.
In Butler, which featured a hotly contested mayoral race, 25.4 percent of all registered voters went to the polls.