Voter turnout continues to be embarrassing
Friday, May 09, 2014 11:00 AM
Jefferson County's 32.25 percent turnout in the primary election Tuesday bucked a statewide trend of embarrassingly low primary voter turnout - otherwise known as voter apathy.
Still, it's strange to congratulate ourselves when only three of every 10 registered voters actually exercised their right to vote.
The Madison Consolidated Schools referendum boosted the number of participants locally. The referendum was on the ballot in 19 of the county's 26 precincts, and 5,885 people voted - 4,514 against the referendum and 1,371 for the measure.
Of 22,279 registered voters in our county, 7,184 cast a ballot. Of those, 6,058 people voted on election day at their polling location and 1,126 voted by absentee ballot.
Statewide, the lack of a national or statewide race or hot-button issue failed to attract many voters.
The Indianapolis Star reported fewer than 8 percent of registered voters in Indianapolis cast ballots. Records kept by the Indiana secretary of state's office show that that's the lowest voter turnout for any nonmunicipal election in Marion County in at least 25 years.
Election officials in some of the state's other large counties reported similar results. Allen County had 12 percent turnout and Lake County's primary drew 12.8 percent of voters, while fewer than 6 percent of voters in Vanderburgh County bothered to go to the polls.
There is plenty of blame to go around on why turnout remains low. Ultimately, however, the blame goes to the general public. We cannot remain silent about things that matter, and who we elect to represent us does matter.