This year’s City Council elections brought more voters to polls than usual. According to Lincoln County’s Director of Elections Bradley Putnam, 1,934 votes were cast in this year’s City Council elections, meaning roughly 32% of Lincolnton’s residents voted.
“Compared to the 2011 elections, we were up a couple hundred votes,” Putnam said.
While the number of Election Day voters remained the same as previous years, one-stop early voting turnout was significantly higher.
“We had 726 people (participate) in early voting,” Putnam said. “That number is up tremendously from past years.”
He believes the higher turnout may have been influenced by the candidates.
“They were two pretty contested races, with (Martin) Eaddy being well known as a former superintendent, and (Mary Frances) White being a business owner — she touched a lot of people as well,” Putnam said.
Putnam replaced Bill Beam, former director of the Lincoln County Board of Elections, in late September. With only a matter of weeks to organize the November elections, Putnam found his new role a bit challenging at first.
“It was challenging just being so new to it all,” Putnam said. “I just had to jump right in.”
As the Director of Elections, Putnam is responsible for planning and implementing Election Day.
“My job involves answering a lot of legal questions,” he said. “You pretty much have to have the election law book at your side at all times.”
Prior to taking over the Board of Elections, Putnam worked as a purchasing agent for Gaston County Schools and was the chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Party.
With more elections coming up in May, Putnam is looking to revamp the poll workers training program.
“One of our biggest issues is training poll workers,” Putnam said. “In the past, people were given a two hour training program and then sent to work at the polls. Now, we’re looking at an eight to 16 hour program to incorporate the new law changes for 2014.”
Putnam plans to give more information regarding the new laws and procedures to the public within the next couple of months.