Out of Warner Robins’ nearly 40,000 registered voters, just about one out of six showed up to vote for this year's election.
As thousands headed to the polls over the last few weeks to cast their vote for mayor and two council seats, Muhammad White did not.
White says he normally only votes in presidential elections.
“I hear a lot of people complaining about different things but I guess when they don't affect you, you really don't vote. But I think the presidential is just a big thing,” White said outside City Hall on Wednesday.
The numbers show that he isn't the only one that feels that way.
Houston County records show that more than 70 percent of registered County voters took part in the last two presidential elections. Since the County handles federal elections, they were not able tell us how many city voters, specifically, participated in the presidential elections.
In 2012, 58,292 votes were cast or about 73 percent of registered voters. In 2016, 60,565 votes were cast or about 76 percent. There are 79,199 registered voters across Houston County.
But in Warner Robins, the turnout for the last three mayoral was about a quarter of that, less than 18 percent.
This year, only 6,796 people voted out of 39,126 registered voters.
24-year-old Brooklyn Micek did vote and says it's too important not to.
“When you vote, you know it affects your life later on down the road, your kids, everything about your city and who's taking care of it and what gets done. So, my mom taught me to vote since the time I was able to,” Micek said on Wednesday.
Micek also said she was surprised to hear this year's numbers.
“I can't believe there's not more voter turnout in Warner Robins,” she said before having lunch at Commercial Circle.
White says he couldn't make it to the polls because of work, but says he regrets that and plans to start voting in city elections.
“Even if it doesn't affect me, I just still want to be more involved. I feel like it's a privilege, you know. One time, voting was not allowed, so, I'm like why not-- If you have a chance to do something you couldn't do before, why not do it now?” White said.
White told WMAZ he thinks one reason for the disconnect is that news about presidential races is splashed across news sites all over the country all the time, but in his opinion voters don't often see much about local politics till election time.
Warner Robins voters will have another chance to let their voices be heard before the year ends. The Post 1 at-large Council seat is headed to a runoff election between Eric Langston and Daron Lee on December 5th.
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