PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What if we held an election and nobody showed up to vote?
“Did you even know it was Election Day today?” KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked one young man today.
“No, I didn’t,” responded Greg Kraus of Cranberry.
He’s hardly alone.
Statewide, 80 percent will not vote.
Many don’t know it’s Election Day.
“I woke up this morning and saw it on the news, but otherwise, it hasn’t been widely publicized, I suppose,” said Brooke Anniball of Polish Hill.
KDKA went out to one suburb where it was practically empty with poll workers outnumbering voters 10 to one.
At Markham School in Mt. Lebanon where five election districts vote, that’s thousands and thousands and thousands of residents, very few were coming out. Both there or any place else in the area.
What is most surprising is that this election determines the people who can raise our taxes the most.
School property taxes and public education, municipal services like garbage and snow removal, all affected by an election most ignore.
“A lot of people focus on national elections, when local elections affect you more,” said Genevieve Rosselot of Spring Garden, who was planning to vote after work.
At the Mt. Lebanon poll, incumbent township commissioner Steve Silverman is being challenged by fellow Democrat Bob Lee.
“Local elections are most important, I think, because that’s where you can have the greatest impact,” says Lee.
But turnout is low despite the candidates’ best efforts.
“We certainly knock on doors. We send out flyers reminding people to vote. We’ve emailed. We’ve posted on Facebook,” says Silverman, “and yet you see what the turnout is today.”
Some polls don’t worry about turnout as long as their supporters vote.
“If you don’t vote, you just leave the decision to someone else to make,” says Mayor Bill Peduto, up for reelection.
While many pooh-pooh local races, one voter calls this the training ground for higher offices we do vote for.
“You look at their road map, their journey, and what better place to get started than with your neighbors,” says Dan Rothschild, a Mt. Lebanon voter who did turn out to vote.