Expert predicts higher voter turnout for Tuesday's election

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham voters head to the polls Tuesday to elect the city's next mayor.

The two candidates, William Bell and Patrick Cooper, took similar approaches in their last day of campaigning. Both participated in the Martin Luther King parade downtown. Both shook hands, and both relied on campaign workers to hand out signs and brochures.

UAB Political Analyst Dr. Larry Powell said the two candidates have shown very different styles throughout the campaign. Cooper has presented himself as the new face, while Bell touted his experience. Dr. Powell said this approach may help voter turnout.

"The thing that hinders turnout is voter confusion," said Dr. Powell, "When they can't distinguish one candidate from the other. That is not happening here, there are two different candidates with two different visions, and the voters see that clearly."

Dr. Powell says turnout for the general election was 26%, but he is predicting a better turnout on Tuesday. He said it has been a very active campaign, and the negative campaign ads may encourage people to vote.

"Right now this is such a polarized election everyone knows who they are for and who they are against," said Dr. Powell, "I think you will see them going to the polls."

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7am to 7pm.