Gaston Co celebrates National Voter Registration Day, looks to boost voter turnout

GASTON COUNTY, NC (Bria Bell/WBTV) - To vote or not to vote - that's the question residents in Gaston County ask themselves every election year. Voting officials in the county are trying to inspire political power on National Voter Registration Day.

More than half of Gaston county is registered to vote. Despite that statistic, the county sits at the bottom compared to other counties within the state when it comes to voter turnout on Election Day for local government office positions.

A fear is that long lines at the polls may be the reason some voters don't show up, but Adam Ragan, Gaston County's Board of Elections Director, says there are other options.

"You can vote on Election Day at your specific precinct, early voting is very popular, as well as mail out and absentee ballots," Ragan said.

Another problem voters face? Some believe it stems from Socioeconomics.

"Maybe it's because transportation," voter Aaron Roseboro, "or people don't have someone in their neighborhood telling them how important it is to vote."

Or maybe it's a personal preference due to distrust in politicians.

Angela Fewell says she does not vote but is registered.

"Even when we do vote, does it matter?" she said. "Are our voices being heard, do [those who hold offices] even listen?"

Either way, those that do vote say it's a right they'll always exercise because they want their voices to be heard. Garbage collection, upkeep on roads and other issues the local government has control over are topics they want a say in.

"Everybody's got a voice, and it needs to be heard," says Jimmy Berrong, a registered voter who makes it to the polls.

The final day to register to vote is October 13 at 5 p.m. at 410 W Franklin in Gastonia.

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