A week after the special election by the city of Sheridan, the community buzz seems to lean less toward the results and more toward the voter turnout. Mixed responses indicate folks were pleased with the turnout and others were disappointed in the lack of response from active voters.
A question I’ve asked myself and have been asked by community members is: Was it actually a good voter turnout? As one who relies heavily on research and numbers, I decided to dig into the numbers Sheridan County holds when it comes to voter potential versus voter turnouts.
U.S. Census Data from 2018 estimates — sidenote: I’m stoked to work with some fresh, accurate numbers after the 2020 Census that’s right around the corner — sets Sheridan County’s population at 30,233. Of those, 21.4%, or about 6,470, of those citizens are younger than 18 years old and are unable to vote.
That percentage increases slightly within city limits. The total population as of 2018 estimates is 17,849. Those younger than 18 total 22.6% of the population, or about 4,034 youngsters.
Subtract the total from those unable to vote because of age only, and you have a total of 13,815. A pretty big majority of the city population, I’d say.
Consider another group of people unable to vote because they are not American or Wyoming citizens — those include people who recently moved and have yet to change over a driver’s license and voter registration information — and some who have had prior convictions and are barred from voting by law, and you probably have a good pool of 10,000 or more city of Sheridan citizens that could be potential voters.
At the Oct. 30 marker, the city of Sheridan had 6,982 registered voters, according to City Clerk Cecilia Good, who received an updated number from Sheridan County Elections Supervisor Brenda Kekich via email that day.
With election numbers still being entered, Sheridan had 7,009 registered within city limits as of Nov. 12 at 8:30 a.m.
Of that total, 2,663 voted in the special election, leaving 4,346 who did not vote and 6,806 outlying citizens who are unregistered and possibly unaware we even had a special election this year.
Voting is a privilege and obligation as American citizens. It’s an integral aspect of our government and a way in which we have control over who controls us. Although this election was much smaller and less impactful than the election upcoming in 2020, a single person’s vote made an impact. The little votes matter.
The Press is already drumming up ideas for the upcoming election year on ways to live out our mission and engage and inform the community in the best way possible. One of those ways is coming to you in whatever way you consume information.
Where are we missing you? Where are we missing your neighbors? Friends? Acquaintances? The person behind you asking you what they’re voting on while in line at the polls? We want everyone to be as informed as those on the front lines of the political beat, so let us know how we can better serve the population. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share ideas on how to educate the unreached.