Low Voter Turnout So Far at Some Birmingham Polls

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Lots of activity outside the polling place at Sun Valley Elementary School, but inside, voter turnout appears light.
Lots of activity outside the polling place at Sun Valley Elementary School, but inside, voter turnout appears light.

Sherrel Wheeler Stewart,WBHM 90.3 FM

There’s plenty of campaigning, but turnout appears low so far at several Birmingham polling places today as voters elect a mayor, city council and school board.

At Legion Field, where voters from three different council districts cast their ballots, crowds gathered outside campaigning. A few candidates and their staffers pitched tailgating tents. One was frying chicken to serve for lunch for campaign workers.

One mayoral candidate — Frank James Matthews — drove up with a caravan of about 10 vehicles. They were all honking horns and waving campaign signs.

There was a steady flow in and out of the polling place. But by 10:45 a.m., fewer than 500 people had voted.  In the November 2016 General Election, 2,700 people voted at that same site.

The flow of voters was also slow at Sun Valley Elementary School. Only 160 people had voted by 9 a.m.  Outside the polling place were the two candidates for the District 1 City Council seat campaigned.

Incumbent Lashunda Scales approached voters saying, “I’m counting on your vote.” Her opponent Sherman Collins stood just a few feet away saying “Eight is Enough.” Scales was first elected to the council  in August 2009.

In Roebuck at the Don Hawkins Recreation Center, the flow of voters was steady. By 1 p.m. about 400 voters had cast their ballots. In November, 1,800 voters cast ballots at that location.

Additional reporting by Esther Ciammachilli

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