Turnout was abysmal

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Farmville has a lot to be proud of and boast about, from the large number of local businesses to the way the town works with community and civic groups in making this a better place to live, work and play.

One thing that the town and its residents should be ashamed of is the participation in the town council races at the polls.

Farmville — the economic hub of the Heart of Virginia and the only town boasting such strong business growth, two institutions of higher education and a population of over 8,000 — should have a much healthier electorate.

A 5-percent voter turnout was reported in the uncontested election on May 3, according to the Prince Edward County Voter Registrar’s Office.

That leaves 95 percent of the voting population who stayed at home.

Maybe some sat on their hands in protest to the incumbents having no opposition. Maybe some thought their vote wouldn’t matter in the election because of the lack of opponents.

The fact of the matter is that 5 percent of the town’s voters chose three councilmen who will serve 100 percent of voters for the next four years.

Donald Hunter, who represents Ward D on council, received only 45 votes. J.J. “Jamie” Davis, who represents Ward E, received 35 votes.

There are classes at Longwood University that boast well over 35 students. Think about what could happen if a Longwood University student — or three students — who are registered to vote in the town organized a campaign for town council, rallying their classmates, sorority sisters and friends who are also registered voters.

What we’re pressing is the fact that Farmville’s voters must become more involved in the election process, from running and seeking office to showing up to vote.

We take the low turnout as a vote of complacency — one that must be combatted for the sake of a healthy democracy.