by Sam Hieb
Incumbent Mayor Nancy Vaughan dominated Greensboro’s City Council primary, tallying 88 percent of the vote—while incumbent District 3 council member Justin Outling got 60 percent of the vote in his three-way primary. This is Outling’s first campaign—he was appointed to the district 3 seat when Zack Matheny resigned to become president and chief executive officer of nonprofit Downtown Greensboro Inc.
Vaughan took Gboro residents to task for the low turnout—-under 4 percent:
“I’m extremely disappointed in the turnout,” Vaughan said. “Of the people you vote for, your City Council has the biggest effect on your day-to-day life. To have such a large percentage not voting is disappointing.”
The low turnout may be the result of having just two contests on the ballot.
“Usually we have an at-large primary,” Vaughan said. “So everyone in the city has a reason to come out and vote.”
Vaughan said she hopes to see higher turnout in the Nov. 3 general election. All but two council seats are contested then.
“I’d really like to see people more engaged,” she said.
Maybe Vaughan said it and the N&R didn’t print it, but anyone following Gboro politics this year might put two and two together and thing to themselves that the mayor led the charge against the HB 263 —the bill redistricting the City Council that is now stalled in court—- in the interest of Gboro citizens determining the makeup of their local government —and this is what she gets? A 4 percent turnout?
Fair enough—- mayor and District 3 were the only races warranting a primary. And the N&R will tell you the uncertainty surrounding redistricting is why so few candidates threw hats in the ring.
Hopefully turnout for the November general election will reach double digits –but we’re still only talking 10-12 percent. Otherwise the argument that the battle against redistricting is a fight for democracy will ring slightly hollow.