13% turn out for vote

Douglas County poll workers weren’t as busy as they’d like to have been for Tuesday’s primary.

Only 10,436 voters cast ballots, making turnout a low 13 percent, even with a competitive congressional primary race between Republicans Jim Ryun and Lynn Jenkins and four total primaries for two County Commission seats.

“I always want a higher turnout,” Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said.

Voter turnout in for the August 2006 primary was 12 percent.

Although 26 percent of Republicans turned out, compared with 16 percent for Democrats, several precincts experienced low numbers.

In areas around the Kansas University campus, many students were not back in town yet because classes don’t start until later this month, Shew said.

Still, voters throughout the day said they felt it was their duty to cast ballots. Some first-time voters celebrated their trips to the polls.

“My parents encouraged me to do it. It’s the right thing to do,” said Ben Harvey, a 19-year-old who voted for the first time. “It’s what this country is for. People died in wars so I can vote.”

Douglas County commissioners will canvass the election at 9 a.m. Friday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.

Shew said election workers collected 117 provisional ballots, which will be counted or thrown out.