Spring Hill city elections have seen progressively worse and worse voter turnout rates; in 2017, the city election saw a 7.72% voter turnout, and in 2019, an abysmal 5.67%, with just 1,545 votes cast out of the city’s 27,271 registered voters.
While city leaders have floated a bevy of reasons as to why they believe the voter turnout rate continues to be so low, one consistently cited reason is the amount of polling places. Only one polling place is in Williamson County, with the two others on the Maury County side of the city.
As a means to fix the low voter participation, city leaders on Monday discussed the idea of expanding the number of polling places from three to five, adding two more on the Williamson County side of the city. City leaders also discussed expanding voting hours, as well as launching an in-depth online campaign to promote voter participation.
“I think the hours and days are going to be very important, not just the number of polling stations,” said Mayor Rick Graham. “We’re looking for it to be as easy and convenient for people to stop on the way in and out of work to vote.”
The discussions among city leaders Monday, which were part of the Spring Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s (BOMA) monthly non-voting meeting, also saw the introduction of a new timeline to improve voter turnout.
That timeline suggested that the BOMA secure all polling locations by Sept. 30 of this year, include inserts with utility bills that encourage residents to participate in early voting by Feb. 25, 2021, and to launch a public relations campaign to promote early voting in early March of 2021.
“Facebook is really going to be the new door knocking for 2020, so what I want us to think about is what is our social media strategy for voter engagement going to be,” Alderman Dan Allen posed during the discussions. “I think we really have the opportunity here to turn this into a big win.
“Digital engagement I think is going to be critically important. A lot of the approach that [we have] here is kind of the traditional pre-COVID kind of stuff, and I really think we have an opportunity to invest in our reputation on how we handle elections.”
The Spring Hill city election will be held in April of 2021.