As our print deadline approached Tuesday night, there was one thing apparent. The voters of Bibb County thought less of this election than we did. As some marched to the polls to vote for representatives of the county’s first consolidated government, most didn’t for one reason or another. Could the confusion leading up to the election, the changing dates, the non-partisan controversy and other problems have been factors? Of course, but the underlying cause of low-voter turnout, in this election and others, is voter apathy. The weather couldn’t be blamed nor could the lack of candidates. Thirty-one people vied for 10 positions. When apathy hits, we should recognize it for what it is: Simply, most voters don’t care.
The voter turnout hung around the 39 percent mark and from the start of the day, voters had to stand in few lines. Early morning voters, generally a busy time, hardly had to wait at all. Also hanging in the balance were possible runoffs in several races and victory or defeat for one district as absentee ballots and early voting totals were counted late into the evening. There was a tantalizing possibility that the mayor’s race would not go to a generally assumed runoff.
Reichert fell short by 302 votes. He and former Mayor C. Jack Ellis will meet in the runoff on Oct. 15.
In District 2, Larry Schlesinger will met Henry Ficklin; in District 4, Mallory Jones will face Beverly Olson; in District 6, Adah Roberts and Ed DeFore; District 8 will have two sitting councilmen, Virgil Watkins Jr., and Charles Jones.
Gary Bechtel in District 1, Elaine Lucas in District 3, Bert Bivins in District 5, Scotty Shephard in District 7 and Al Tillman in District 9, all won outright.
Part of the table for the new government is set. Maybe lightning will strike as it did in the last race for mayor between Reichert and Ellis when more voters cast ballots in the runoff than the General Election.