Despite the fact that both the Mayor’s Office and the entire City Council is up for reelection on November 8th 2011, most Houstonians will not vote on whether Mayor Annise Parker gets a second term or not. In fact, voter turnout is expected to be in the single digits in some of Houston’s Voting Districts.
Mr. Ken Macpherson of Houston Voting District # 33
Five per cent
Ken Macpherson is a Precinct Judge for Houston City Precinct # 33. With its 3,500 registered voters, Precinct # 33 is by no means the largest precinct in Houston, but Mr. Macpherson is proud to say that his precinct has already overcome the rather grim predictions city officials cast before Election Day:
-It was estimated that around five per cent of the registered voters in my precinct would actually turn up and vote today, Mr. Macpherson says, pausing quickly before adding: -We have already exceeded that, you know! We passed five per cent voter turnout this morning, so everything from here on in is really just a bonus.
This is Mr. Macpherson’s third election as Precinct Judge, a position that allows him to hire and train staff for a job he calls ‘about as close to voluntary work as you can get, but still getting paid’.
That being said, it is not money, but a love for his community, that makes Mr. Macpherson commit as much of his own time to the local elections as he does.
New ideas to bring more voters
The low voter turnout it not something Mr. Macpherson and his staff are satisfied with. And no stone will be left unturned in the attempt to raise the bar, according to Macpherson:
-This year, we have Spanish ballots too, he says enthusiastically as we part ways. –Language should not be keeping people from taking part in local democracy.
Although this year’s Election Day might be rather quiet for Mr. Macpherson and his staff, there is a silver lining to keep in mind as they pack up the ballots late Tuesday night: Next year’s Election Day will be a lot busier. Who knows, when November 6th 2012 comes around, even Mr. Ken Macpherson might miss the quiet Mayoral election of 2011.