Roanoke voters to choose new mayor, 3 city council members Tuesday


ROANOKE (WSLS) - People in Roanoke City head to the polls Tuesday.

There are three city council seats up for grabs. Voters will also elect a new Mayor.

Some of the key issues include economic development, improving transportation and jobs. Incumbent Anita Price, community activist Freeda Cathcart and business owner Trish White-Boyd are running as democrats.

Independent Michelle Dykstra is the top fundraiser with more than $46,000 raised, according to the website VPAP.  Dykstra is director at the City Market Building and is involved in real estate.

John Garland is also running as an independent. He is the developer behind energy-efficient projects such as 16 West Marketplace and the Aurora apartments in downtown Roanoke.

Duane E. Howard is the former president of the Southeast Action Forum.

This Tuesday's election has a diverse set of candidates who could bring new ideas and changes to the table. Some potential voters said a change in leadership could be good.

"I think it will give them an opportunity to show what their leadership abilities are," said Regina GoForth. "I think change could be a positive thing. Sometimes we are afraid of change an leery of it but i think it will be positive."

Election officials said turnout is historically low in local elections. Many times it depends on whether there is a key issue on the ballot.

Roanoke City election officials said the largest turnout in a May election in the past decade happened in 2006. That year turnout was at 25%.

Victory Stadium was a big issue during the 2006 local elections. Some candidates supported tearing it down while other said it should be renovated.  The controversy drove a large number of voters to the polls.

Since then, May voter turnout has dropped. City officials said about 15% of voters came out in May 2014.

Polls open at 6:00 a.m on Tuesday and close at 7:00 p.m.