Despite fairly nice weather, the morning turnout for today's primary election showed most voters were finding other things to do.
A pre-noon check by the Journal-World today showed that 8.10 percent or 2,323 of the 28,659 voters in the city's precincts had gone to the polls in today's primary election.
This morning's pre-noon turnout almost mirrors the pre-noon turnout for the April 7 presidential primary, where 8.29 percent of the city's voters had cast ballots by noon. In that election, 26.1 percent of the voters came to the polls.
Lawrence's pre-noon turnout in the 1990 primary was 11.9 percent.
Polls are open today until 7 p.m.
Douglas County Clerk Patty Jaimes said she was expecting today's turnout to be about 30 percent.
"It might go a little higher. It depends if people go out and vote before any sprinkles keep them from going out," Jaimes said.
Jaimes said the weather could be a factor.
"I love the temperature, but if the rain hits, that's just enough to keep someone from going to vote," she said.
VOTER DISCONTENT also could have an effect, she said.
"I think Ross Perot had an influence on people getting registered to vote because they wanted a change. But now that he's withdrawn I don't know what that's going to do," she said.
Kansas Secretary of State Bill Graves has predicted that 40 percent of the state's 1.18 million voters will go to the polls today.
On the local ballot, there are Democratic and Republican primary races for seats in Congress, for the Kansas Legislature and for the Douglas County Commission.
In the U.S. Senate primaries, Republicans will choose between incumbent Bob Dole, Russell, and Richard Rodewald, Eudora. Democrats will pick between Gloria O'Dell, Silver Lake, and Fred Phelps, Topeka.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Democratic voters will chose between George Davis, Olathe, and Tom Love, Kansas City.
REPUBLICANS have a larger field from which to choose their nominee for the 3rd District seat. Incumbent Jan Meyers, Overland Park, faces three challengers: State Rep. Kerry Patrick, Leawood, Gary Adams, Prairie Village, and Jim Hall, Stilwell.
Douglas County voters in the Lecompton, Kanwaka and Big Springs voting precincts are still in the 2nd Congressional District. In that race Democratic incumbent Jim Slattery, Topeka, and Republican Jim van Slyke, Topeka, have no primary opponents.
There are three primary contests for area legislative seats.
In the Kansas 45th House District, which covers western Douglas County and several precincts in Lawrence, Republican voters will chose between Martha Parker, of rural Clinton, and Bob Skahan, Lawrence. Democrat Forrest Swall, Lawrence, has no primary opposition.
IN THE KANSAS 47th House District, which includes Jefferson County and northeast Douglas County, incumbent Republican Joann Flower, Oskaloosa, is being challenged in the primary by Tom Lemon, Meriden. Democrat Kaye Messer, Ozawkie, has no primary opponent.
In the 19th Senate District, which includes western and southern Douglas County, part of Shawnee County and part of Osage County, there is a three-way Republican primary. GOP contenders are Wesley Glenn, Topeka; Walter Myers, Baldwin, and Donn Reading, Topeka. Democratic incumbent Anthony Hensley, Topeka, has no primary challengers.
There will be one Douglas County courthouse primary contest.
Republicans Paul Shivel, Lawrence, and Ralph Tanner, Baldwin, are seeking the 2nd District seat on the county commission. That district includes southeast Lawrence and most of eastern Douglas County. Democrat James Chappell, Lawrence, has no primary opposition.
CANDIDATES for the county's other legislative and courthouse seats also will appear on today's ballot, although they do not have primary opposition.
Township officers and precinct committeemen and committeewomen for each party will also be picked today.
Journal-World reporters who visited all of the city's local precincts this morning said they found few voters, but quite a few bored poll workers.
For Supervising Judge Gladys Cummings at at Immanuel Lutheran Church, the polling place for the 9th Precinct of the 2nd Ward, turnout "was very low. It's the first time I can remember we haven't had people waiting to vote at 7 a.m."
"I didn't think we'd have this many all day," said Marge Smith, a poll worker at Southside Church of Christ, 25th and Mo., the polling place for the 7th Precinct of the 3rd Ward, where 112 people, or about 11.8 percent of those registered, had voted by about noon.
THE PRE-NOON poll check today in Lawrence showed that the lowest percentage turnout was at Central United Methodist Church, the polling place for the 1st Precinct of the 3rd Ward, where 2.21 percent (19 of the 858 registered) had voted.
The highest turnout was at Checkers, the 5th Precinct of the 3rd Ward, where 86 voters, or 12.6 percent of the 678 registered, had cast ballots.
The pre-noon turnout by wards was as follows: 1st Ward, 289 voters (7.19 percent of those registered); 2nd Ward, 1,049 voters (7.79 percent); 3rd Ward, 512 voters (8.71 percent); 4th Ward, 329 voters (9.33 percent); 5th Ward, 65 voters (7.23 percent); 6th Ward, 79 voters (9.03 percent).
Jaimes said she expected the results to be in by 9:30 p.m., if the voter turnout is low.
BALLOTS will start coming in shortly after 7 p.m., when the polls, close, she said.
A updated tally will be kept for the primary races on a chalkboard in the rotunda area on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse, she said.