Gaston Co. election officials hope history doesn’t repeat itself at polls in November

Fighting traditionally lower voter turnout

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - We’ve seen record-breaking numbers across the country when it comes to registering to vote. The push for change and the spirit of democracy has inspired this nation as a whole, but election officials aren’t so sure they’ll have a good turnout come next month on Election Day.

The deadline to register to vote is October 12, and officials believe the number of registered voters so far have been great, but in year’s past these registered voters don’t usually follow through to show up to cast a ballot and now officials say they are hoping history doesn’t repeat itself this year.

The power of everyday people lies within a single vote. Claire Thombs knows this.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m African-American or female. I feel like I’m expected or should be expected or should be expected to vote because I have not always had that right,” said Thombs, who is a registered voter in Gaston County.

With the nationwide build-up to encourage voter turnout, Gaston County has seen success of it’s own as nearly 5,000 more people are now registered compared to this time last year. But election officials are being realistic, the number of people who usually show up to cast a ballot fail in comparison to the number who are actually registered.

Officials say they haven't been able to find a root cause as to why, but whatever the reason, upsets voter Brenda Pridgen and her husband Johnny.

“We need to be... just step up and take on our responsibilities as American voters,” said Brenda Pridgen, who is also a registered voter.

Several issues on the November ballot have been big talkers this election season.

Those included are a number of North Carolina constitution amendments that would change hunting and fishing, victims’ rights, state income tax and the voter ID amendment, which would determine if you would need a photo id to vote in person.

“No matter what your beliefs are or think, it’s all good as long as you come and you voice that,” said Thombs.

“They need to know why they are voting and that it really counts,” said Bridges.

Elections officials also want you to know that you can even take it a step further to help out with voting by signing up to be a paid volunteer. The elections office could use a few more hands on November 6. Email gaston.boe@ncsbe.gov or call 704-852-6015 to get information on how to do so.

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