Archive for Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Poll workers blaming heat for particularly low voter turnout

In Douglas County, poll workers weren't as busy as they'd like to have been for Tuesday's primary election.

August 5, 2008, 11:33 a.m. Updated August 5, 2008, 4:34 p.m.


Election 2008: Aug. 5 Primaries

Human error is to blame for more than 4000 primary votes to be counted a day late in Shawnee County.

Jim Seaver, Lawrence, places his vote on Tuesday morning at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont.  By 9:30 a.m., only 19 voters had turned out to vote at the second precinct.

Jim Seaver, Lawrence, places his vote on Tuesday morning at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont. By 9:30 a.m., only 19 voters had turned out to vote at the second precinct.

Polling place workers are theorizing that the heat may be to blame for keeping voter turnout even lower than was expected.

At Free State High School at 1 p.m., the site was on pace to have only 10 percent turnout by the end of the day.

At the Free Methodist Church on 31st Street, only 78 people had voted by 2:15 p.m.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said turnout was "really low" in the eastern part of the city, and low to moderate in the western areas. Voters in western Lawrence are voting in the Jim Ryun-Lynn Jenkins race, which was expected to draw better than average turnout.

About 3:30, Shew said he expected turnout to remain low in the eastern parts of Lawrence and Douglas County, but to end up moderate in western areas.

Turnout has been light at all polling sites in Lawrence all day.

As of 9:30 a.m., only 19 people had voted at the Lawrence Public Library. And about 9 a.m., only 31 people had voted at Presbyterian Manor.

By 11 a.m. Pinckney Elementary School, 810 W. 6th St., also had hosted fewer than 30 voters.

"Usually this is a pretty voter-friendly district," said Stacey Van Houten after receiving a sticker at the school. "Vote early, vote often; that's my motto."

Voter Mark Stotler, however, found the bright side of low turnout.

"No [problems] other than trying to figure out whether to have the ballot right side up or upside down in the machine," he said.

As of noon, West Junior High School at noon had received approximately 30 votes.

What was turnout like at your polling place?

Election coverage


Confrontation 9 years, 9 months ago

There were less than 15 other voters who had voted by 8:30am at my polling location. As for the Dem ballot, there was only one race where you had to make a decision between two people. The others only had one person. One had no one. You could write in a name if you want. Plus, there were no stickers. Isn't that the reason why people vote? The "I Voted" stickers really attract the soccer moms.

GetItRight 9 years, 9 months ago

You can find the blog of your local newspaper and figure out how to login and post but you can't figure out how to look up your polling location?, you haven't voted at the courthouse in quite sometime. It used to be my polling location too but I have voted at the church at 12th & RI for the past two or three elections.If you don't have the forethought to check your polling location - or to read the card they send you, maybe you shouldn't be picking our leaders!

kansasbrandon 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure part of the reason for the light turnout is that unaffiliated voters cannot vote in the primary. That leaves out a significant percentage of voters.

Luxor 9 years, 9 months ago

I had to dig for polling place info on the Douglas County elections website. It wasn't easy.

Mike Blur 9 years, 9 months ago

There's also advance voting. I can avoid the masses altogether.Also, I'm in a unique circumstance (because of my heritage) where I participate in elections where voters have it very easy--and participation exceeds 90 percent frequently. Trust me, people complain about too many people voting!If US general elections approached 75 percent participation, I bet many people would utter the same complaint!

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 9 months ago

Unaffiliated voters CAN vote in the primary. They sign an affiliation card and vote.The the party label makes your head hurt, you can un-affiliate starting tomorrow. Choose a different party next primary if it makes you feel better. Kinda like being bi-curious.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.