Primary turnout slightly above average

Slow morning due to weather gives way to busy afternoon at polls

Nasty weather and icy roads slowed down voting during the morning hours of Tuesday’s mayoral primary in Shawano, but by the time polls closed at 8 p.m. the city saw a slightly better than average turnout for a primary election.

The total count was 1,133 voters, or 29 percent of the 3,947 voters registered in the city.

“That’s a little higher than normal,” said Deputy City Clerk Lesley Nemetz. “The mayor’s race caused a definite upswing in interest among the people who showed up.”

There were concerns early Tuesday that the weather would dampen turnout.

“It was definitely slow in the morning, while the roads were iffy,” Nemetz said. “In the afternoon, we saw a definite pickup in (voter) traffic.”

The 2016 primary, which had six mayoral candidates and no incumbent on the ballot, drew 28 percent of registered voters.

In 2014, the last year former mayor Lorna Marquardt ran for that office, turnout was 14 percent of registered voters. Marquardt faced no opposition on the ballot.

Last year, a February primary for state superintendent of schools drew only 6 percent of Shawano’s registered voters.

Primary races typically draw fewer voters than general elections. The general election for mayor in April 2016 brought out 60 percent of registered voters, though that ballot also included a presidential primary.

Countywide voter turnout Tuesday was at 16 percent, though most municipalities had only the state supreme court primary on the ballot.

Both the city’s and the county’s boards of canvass certified election results Thursday, with no change in the results reported Tuesday night.

Incumbent Mayor Jeanne Cronce won 443 votes, with 379 votes for former Shawano police chief Ed Whealon, advancing both to the spring election on April 3. Jim Oberstein finished out of the running with 303 votes.