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Archive for Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Voter turnout among lowest in memory

August 2, 2006

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The predictions were right: Voter turnout was low Tuesday as voters chose a series of candidates in primary races.

Only 9,065 of 74,021 registered Douglas County voters - or 12.25 percent - bothered to cast ballots, according to County Clerk Jamie Shew. Election officials said if that wasn't a record low, it was close.

When polls opened at 7 a.m., one voter was ready to go at the polling station at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt. But the second voter didn't show up until about two hours later, poll workers said. And by 6 p.m. - just an hour before voting stopped - a grand total of 12 people had cast ballots there, including one provisional ballot, they said.

"I've never seen it this slow before," said James Dunn, the supervising judge who has been a poll worker for years.

Several of those who voted at the church said they were especially interested in the Kansas State Board of Education races, said Marci Francisco, a poll worker at Plymouth who also is a state senator.

Lawrence resident Clayton McHenry casts his ballot early Tuesday evening at the New York School polling station. Turnout for Tuesday's primary election was less than 13 percent.

Lawrence resident Clayton McHenry casts his ballot early Tuesday evening at the New York School polling station. Turnout for Tuesday's primary election was less than 13 percent.

Turnout was low throughout Kansas even though voters were choosing a Republican nominee for the gubernatorial race and selecting candidates for Congress, insurance commissioner, secretary of state and the state school board.

Several Lawrence voters attributed the poor turnout to a series of lackluster campaigns and voter apathy.

"I have so many friends who say the primaries don't matter, but I sure think they do," said Daisy Hemming, who was the 20th voter at 9:30 a.m. at the Pinckney School polling station.

By 6:30 p.m., 65 people had voted at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H. That was a poor showing, longtime poll workers said.

Get the numbers

"There was a bad day when it snowed during a primary in 1989 and we had more voters than this," said poll worker Janet Elston, who has been working at the same precinct for years.

That turnout was better than at some locations. At the South Park Recreation Center polling station, only 10 voters had been by at 9 a.m.

Jerry Wells - a former Republican Douglas County district attorney who was voting at First Southern Baptist Church in west Lawrence - blamed lackluster campaigns, especially in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

"I think (Gov. Kathleen) Sebelius is just overwhelming everyone else right now," Wells said. "The general election will draw more interest, but right now there has been no buzz factor."

No problems were reported with the county's new voting machines.

Comments

prioress 8 years, 4 months ago

This is a problem, folks. We had to rely on a total of 1,800 people living west of Salina to carry the day......that's too close for comfort!

prioress 8 years, 4 months ago

Good points, and now with advanced voting and absentee ballots, there is no excuse. I grew up in Lawrence, and an continually amazed at the local political scene, the bitching and carping and complaining---followed by 80-90% of those who should be voting refusing to take the time or trouble. Of course, this is what the right wing wants. They can get their people to the polls, and the fewer the better. This, folks, is how 10% or so of the "wingnuts" run our fair state. WAKE UP KANSAS!

Confrontation 8 years, 4 months ago

Where are the usual posters on this one? Too ashamed to admit that you spend all day on the computer and couldn't find time to vote?

Sigmund 8 years, 4 months ago

If they can't be bothered to vote, why should we value their opinion? They probably also can't be bothered to be educated on the issues.

kubug 8 years, 4 months ago

I didn't know there was an election until it was too late to go to the poll. Why didn't they promote it more?

Plus, many of the registered voters are college students and are probably out of town for the summer.

Confrontation 8 years, 4 months ago

It took me less than 5 minutes to vote. If people didn't vote, then they have no right to complain about psychos making education decisions for their children.

rhd99 8 years, 4 months ago

I voted, what was your EXCUSE, KANSAS?! Kubug, there should have been more to promote this election, but Confrontation hit it right on the nose. If people don't vote, they do NOT have ANY right to complain when politicians like KLINE, MORRIS & WAGLE make & support policies that have turned this great state into the butt of MANY late night talk show jokes! Yesterday's election results show why Kansas MUST CHANGE NOW!

prioress 8 years, 4 months ago

bige1030: If you can stomach it, register as a Republican so you can try to pick off the worst of the R's before they can make it to the general election. You can change your registration the next day if it bothers you.

bige1030 8 years, 4 months ago

When I voted yesterday on the Democrat ticket, there was only one contested race (Secretary of State). Remember - we're a blue city...and there wasn't much action in the blue primary.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 4 months ago

bige1030: If you can stomach it, register as a Republican so you can try to pick off the worst of the R's before they can make it to the general election. You can change your registration the next day if it bothers you.

Cynically lying about party affiliation, for manipulation of the process? displays the incivility of the left we've all talked about.

yes, I voted and yes it was damned hot. the poll workers were wonderful, and while I was there, only three of us voted.
I don't live in a part of lawrence known for heavy student habitation. many retired and young working families. I think heat was a part of the turnout problem.
Also, btw, I voted in the Republican primary. Go Chuck Ahner!

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