Friday, October 31, 2014 · 5:06 a.m.
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Voting wasn't in the public interest Tuesday. 

On the day allotted once every four years for residents to decide who will be their mayor and City Council members, 84 percent of registered voters opted out. 

The tally was down from the most recent city election. In fact, it was one of the lowest voter turnout percentages in recent Chattanooga history. 

In 2009, the last time residents participated in a municipal election, 18 percent of voters turned out—or 18,773 out of 103,747 registered voters. In 2005, 26.9 percent of registered voters participated, Hamilton County Election Commission records show. 

In 2001, 31 percent of voters in the city voted. And in 1997, municipal races saw a 32 percent turnout. 

Tuesday's paltry turnout—only 18,194 ballots cast from a pool of 111,324 registered voters—will likely be discussed by various officials in the coming months. 

Administrator of elections Charlotte Mullis-Morgan offered no early explanations for the lack of interest. 

"I don't know; it's just been a pattern in city elections," Mullis-Morgan said. "I think the rainy day didn't help, but I wish we knew the answer. We don't. We're always disappointed with numbers like 16 percent."

Along with election day, registered voters had two weeks to cast ballots early at various locations. 

Total costs for administering this year's municipal election are yet to be figured, but in 2009, approximately $138,000 was spent on the contest.

Last August, Councilwoman Deborah Scott proposed moving the city election date to coincide with an August and November ballot schedule to consolidate costs and increase participation. 

The proposal was rejected in a 7-2 vote.

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