History is on hold in the presidential race, but BV voters back Bush in lowest local turnout in modern history.
It had all of the elements of a good thriller - suspense, intrigue, controversy, surprise. However, this wasn't a new book on the best-seller list or the latest Hollywood flick. It was the election of the 43rd president of the United States, holding Storm Lakers spellbound as it did voters nationwide as results unfolded Tuesday night and into Wednesday.
Some Storm Lake residents report that they called their children out of bed at midnight on election day to peer at the television screen flashing 240 electoral votes for each candidate. Will they ever in their lifetimes see a presidential race so close? Others woke up the morning after the election searching the news to find out who had won, only to discover that no one had, yet.
The presidential vote may have been a near dead heat nationally, but it was no contest in Buena Vista County. Texas Governor George W. Bush piled up 4,338 votes or 54.59 percent of the ballots, to 3,287 and 41.36 percent for Vice President Al Gore. Ralph Nader of the Green Party managed 221 votes or 2.78 percent, while Reform Party standard-bearer Pat Buchanan had 58 votes or .78 percent.
The turnout in the county, 7,999 voters plus 44 challenged ballots, was disappointing for Commissioner of Elections Karen Strawn.
Despite the tight presidential race, only 67.62 percent of eligible registered voters went to the polls in Buena Vista County, down from 75 percent for the presidential race four years ago, and by far the lowest percentage of voters in any presidential race since modern registration records started in 1980.
"It's just a shame," Strawn said. "The turnout was a substantial drop from the past two presidential elections. Let's hope it is an indication of bad weather and not something else."
Read the rest of this article in the 11/09 Pilot Tribune.