MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Voter turn out is expected to hit historic lows in Memphis in the 2011 Mayor's race. Those who did head out to vote aren't surprised. Political experts told abc24.com there are two reasons behind the low vote turnout: incumbents are leading so many people don’t bother to vote and there aren't any hot button issues on the ballot.
"This is the worse turnout in the history of Memphis," said voter William Ferguson.
"It's frustrating because the city of Memphis is notorious for the lack of voter participation,” said another voter Shalonna Williams.
There were no lines and countless empty polling stations Thursday, October 6, 2011. This is no doubt a disappointment for those who believe in the importance of voting.
"It's just a matter of educating people. People actually died for the right to vote and so it's a serious matter,” Williams told abc24.com.
The question is, why are people staying at home?
"The lack of specific issues that are red hot, the lack of candidacies are red hot, and the lack of races that are red hot,” said political analyst Jackson Baker.
Only about 8-percent of those registered participated in early voting. Early estimates point to an overall turnout of 16-percent or less.
"That will surely be a record for Memphis for a major scheduled election, not a special election. A lot of special elections have low turnouts but this is a city-wide, major, regularly scheduled 4-year election. That would be astonishing if that's how it turns out,” said Baker.
The last time Memphis voters came out in mass was 1991. That's the year former Mayor Willie Herenton was elected as the city's first African-American mayor. Voter turnout then was more than 65-percent.