Twin Cities Far From Identical in Voter Turnout

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Election night has come and gone, but just how many residents headed to the polls? And at what cost to the city?

We often refer to Bryan/College Station as the twin cities. But this past weekend, they were far from identical having more differences than similarities at the election polls.

In College Station, 5,550 people turned out to vote on Saturday.

That's about 16 percent of the registered voters in the city.

Although that number may sound small, in the grand scheme of things, it's actually up from the May 2007 elections. Only 4,077 voters showed up at the polls, even with a contested school election on the line.

City officials say voters had big choices this year.

"I think the ballot contained three very important candidate races, as well as our tax freeze proposition for seniors," College Station City Secretary Connie Hooks said.

But every vote comes with a price tag.

College Station budgeted about $40,000 for this year's election, and came in at about $35,000.

But with only 5,550 people voting, that means it cost the city roughly $6.30 per vote.

Money that goes towards everything that makes what you see and don't see at the polls a possibility.

A $38 million school bond was on the table in Bryan. This year, voters had the opportunity to decide the fate of not only their city officials, but school officials and a bond package.

But that increased opportunity to voice an opinion, didn't translate into larger numbers at the polls.

In all, 2,640 people made it to the polls this past weekend, which is down about a thousand people from 2007.

City of Bryan officials say they budgeted about $35,000 for this election, and that will be split between the city and the schools.

As for the low voter turnout, Bryan City Secretary Mary Lynn Stratta says the mayor's race usually draws big crowds. Without a mayor's race this election, and only one single member district race on the line, she believes the school bond was probably what brought voters to the polls.

More than 8,000 Bryan/College Station voters cast ballots in the weekend election.

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