McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

August 14, 2013

Low voter turnout in McAlester election for CenterPoint franchise

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — A proposition to grant CenterPoint Energy Resources a franchise to provide natural gas services to customers in the city of McAlester for 25 years easily passed Tuesday — but only a handful of voters cast ballots in the special city election.

The measure passed by an 87 percent margin, with 106 voters casting ballots in support of the proposition and 16 voting against it.

That means only 122 voters cast ballots in the special election, out of 9,899 registered voters in the city of McAlester.

The CenterPoint franchise question was the only matter on the ballot. Such measures don’t typically drawn a huge turnout.

However, the extremely low turnout in the special Tuesday election even surprised election officials.

“The voter turnout was unusually low,” noted Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Cathy Thornton. “It’s my hope the next one will be better.”

In addition to granting the franchise, the measure passed Tuesday also grants the gas company the right to “enter the public ways” for the transportation, distribution and sale of natural gas to consumers in McAlester.

The measure passed by voters also requires CenterPoint to pay a franchise fee to the city of McAlester, based on 2 percent of gross sales.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

 

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