During last year's Presidential election, turnout was very high at most precincts. It was 75.68% in Northampton County and 74.67% in Lehigh County. But not everywhere. Turnout was abysmally poor in South Side Bethlehem, especially in Latino districts 4 and 5. Turnout there was 49.47% and 50.48%, respectively. Unfortunately, and despite early voting and the existence of no-excuse mail-in ballots (MIB), that trend continues in South Bethlehem.
According to unofficial tally in Northampton County, turnout in last week's municipal primary was 20.52%. In Bethlehem, turnout was highest in north side Precinct 6 (39.65%). But it was disheartening on the South Side. In Districts 4 and 5, where there was both a Mayoral contest and a disputed Magisterial District Judge race, only 7.87% and 7.73% of the registered voters exercised their franchise. In District 3, it was just 3.41%.
Overall, south side turnout was about half what it is on the north side.
Without doubt, the advent of MIBs have enabled more people to vote. Northampton County's 20.52% last week is markedly higher than the municipal primaries in 2017 (14.45%) and 2013 (14.50%). But the paucity of south side voters is troubling to those of us who believe in small "d" democracy. My uninformed opinion has always been that people who need to work two or three jobs have enough trouble putting food on the table than worry about who represents them. As a result, nobody does.
What's your take?
South side turnout: 1N - 12.51%, 1S - 9.18%, 2 - 9.51%, 3 -3.41%, 4 - 7.87%, 5 - 7.73%, 16 - 10.39%, 17 - 6.52%.