Topeka About 50 percent of eligible Kansas voters will cast ballots in the general election, officials said Friday.
That means about 814,000 of the state's 1.6 million voters will vote, and nearly one in five votes will have been cast in advance of Election Day on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh said the modest turnout was due to negative campaigning in some races, the lack of activity in many statewide contests and the low number of heated state House and local races or ballot issues.
"The attacks are more personal" this year, Thornburgh said of the negative campaigning, although he didn't give any examples.
The projected turnout for 2006 is similar to the 52 percent turnout in 2002 and 50 percent in 1998. Both were presidential midterm elections. Kansas experienced its lowest turnout on record during the August primaries with an 18.2 percent participation rate.
During the primaries, Douglas County had the third-lowest county turnout in the state at 12.2 percent, which was possibly a record low for the county.
More about elections 2006
But Douglas County's elections deputy Keith Campbell, said he hoped the county would have a respectable voter participation rate in the general election.
"We are always hopeful for a large turnout. It creates an exciting atmosphere in the town," Campbell said.
As of Friday, 4,256 Douglas County residents had voted in advance - more than 1,500 in person and more than 2,700 through mail-in ballots. There are 76,737 registered voters in the county.
Campbell said county turnout may be ratcheted up because one of the most contested races in the state is for the 2nd Congressional District, which includes the western part of Lawrence. In that race, U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, a five-term conservative Republican, faces Democrat Nancy Boyda.