We hope turnout for Tuesday’s runoff for the Ward 5 seat on the Rock Hill City Council is higher than it was for the Oct. 17 election.
All three candidates in that election campaigned hard, attended forums and sought votes door to door in the district. Voters should repay that effort by taking the time to go to the polling booths between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Not many voters took the time in the general election. Just 423 people total – a scant 6 percent of Ward 5’s more than 7,000 registered voters – cast ballots.
At the end of the day, only a few votes separated the three candidates, and none had a majority of the votes to win outright. Nikita Jackson, a sales associate at Agape Medical Mart, had the highest total with 150 votes, and Ann Williamson-Morrison, a retired flight attendant and teacher, had 138 votes to finish second.
The top two finishers will face off in Tuesday’s runoff. Mildred A. Moore, a retired teacher and English professor, came in third, only three votes behind Williamson-Morrison.
Every vote counted. A few more voters might have changed the outcome.
Even those who didn’t vote the first time around are permitted to vote in the runoff. And, although we hope turnout is higher, a few votes might make the difference between victory and defeat for either of the candidates.
It is somewhat ironic that turnout always is higher during presidential elections. It is understandable that people would want to participate in the nation’s highest-profile election, but their local city council representative is likely to have a larger direct impact on their daily lives than the president. The city council is in charge of city government, which provides police and fire protection; water and sewer service; and garbage and recycling collections. The city council also determines the type of housing and/or business that can locate near you.
Whoever wins the Ward 5 seat Tuesday will be the district’s go-to official regarding a host of local issues. Ward 5 voters said a top priority for them is finding a way to improve flood water drainage in their neighborhoods.
Their city councilperson can get something done about that. The president can’t.
Voters are fortunate to have two qualified candidates to choose from in Tuesday’s election. But the choice nonetheless is important.
This is a participatory democracy, and voters need to do their duty at the polls.
We are grateful that the three candidates in this race were willing to step up and volunteer to serve their fellow Ward 5 residents on the council. That is no small commitment.
Voters will have the chance to finish the job started on Oct. 15. We hope they’ll take a few minutes out of the day to exercise the privilege of voting.