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Voter turnout typically low in local, municipal elections

WICHITA FALLS - Now it's up to voters to decide what they want to see pass, 17 years after Wichita Falls' last city-wide bond election. 

When voters make their way to the polling locations in May, they're looking at seven propositions.

Last city bond election on the Kay Yaeger Coliseum, there was a 25 percent turnout at the polls. Some say local turnout can be low, even on an issue that affects taxpayer pocketbooks.

Wichita Falls resident Sandra Johnson is a voter who says she's been keeping a close eye out on the possibilities of a bond. Now that councilors voted yes to a bond election, Johnson says she's going to do her research before heading to the polls.

"I'm going to take a little more time to learn a little more about it," Johnson said. "I believe part of it had to do with city offices and building a new complex which, given the age of the current one, probably that's a good thing."

Political science professor Jeremy Duff says routinely, 3 to 10 percent of people even make it to local election polls. 

"Local elections are where the least amount of people participate, which is interesting because it's the one where it really can affect people the most directly," Duff said.

Duff says civic duty at the local level and voting could go a long way.

"Street repairs also improves property values and things like that," Duff said. "It drives up your home values, makes you more money when you sell your home."

While the city bond would impact property taxes, Duff says it's also good to be knowledgeable about the bond propositions before participating at the ballot box.

"If people participate and are involved in their local communities and politics, we generally see those communities be just better overall communities," Duff said.

Early voting for the city bond will begin Apr. 23. through May 1.

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