Despite all the publicity about the Tuesday, Nov. 8 election, slightly less than half of registered voters in Guilford County voted.

At the top of the ballot was an open US Senate seat with two high profile candidates who each spent tens of millions of dollars trying to convince voters to go to the polls and vote for them.

Sixth District Congresswoman Kathy Manning spent millions in a successful effort to convince voters to give her a second term.

Then there were critically important statewide judicial races as well as local races for sheriff, county commissioner, school board, the state legislature and other local offices.

But a little over half of the registered voters in Guilford County stayed away from the polls and didn’t bother to cast a vote.

In Guilford County, 186,240 voters, or 49.24 percent of the 378,242 registered voters, voted.  This is despite the fact that Early Voting started on Oct. 20 and closed on Nov. 5, giving voters plenty of opportunities to vote, and for those who couldn’t get to the polls absentee mail-in voting was available.

On Election Day the polls were open for 13 hours, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

And then there were some less publicized efforts to make sure people who wanted to vote could get to the polls.  The Greensboro Transit Agency (GTA) offered fare free rides all day for both the regular GTA buses and the paratransit system Access GSO.  So, on Election Day, a voter who was riding the bus to vote didn’t have to pay a dime and all the other folks riding a bus didn’t have to pay a dime either.

The free fares on Election Day didn’t appear to be well publicized.  There was no press release from the City of Greensboro or GTA.  But a GTA online brochure on the GTA website states, “On Election Day Tuesday, November 8, GTA and Access GSO will operate fare free.”

Guilford County was slightly behind the state in voter turnout.  Statewide voter turnout was 50.53 percent.

However, the voter turnout in Guilford County for the Nov. 8 election was far better than the voter turnout for the Greensboro City Council election on July 26, when only 16.21 percent of those registered to vote in Greensboro voted.