Kansas University has a strong presence in Lawrence with its nearly 30,000 students, but their presence lags on election days.
Burge Union is the voting place for Precinct 10, which covers much of campus, including most of the residence halls, and it has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the city.
"In the primary, I think we had about 14 people come out of Precinct 10," Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said.
In today's election, he said, "we'll probably see about 100 people."
The phenomenon extends beyond the campus boundaries.
Turnout in the five precincts with the highest percentage of registered voters between 18 and 24 years old typically falls well below the countywide average in local city and school board elections.
In 2005, the countywide turnout was 38.5 percent, but less than 23 percent of voters turned out near campus. Two years earlier, 13 percent voted near campus, compared with 33 percent turnout overall.
"I don't think they connect why they should vote," Shew said. "The second thing is the parties are really good during the presidential and governor's elections to really work the campuses and get out the vote, and I don't know if on local campaigns they do that as much."
Students informally surveyed on campus this week generally didn't know there was a city election today - or they didn't care.
"I haven't really thought about it," said Garrett Flippin, a KU freshman. "It's not on the top of my priority list."
Brandy Entsminger, another KU freshman, agreed: "I think students are more interested in on-campus elections. They feel the issues are more important to them."
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