Election

Record-Low Turnouts Seen in Some Primaries

July 23, 2014
 

More than half the states to hold primary elections so far have seen record-low turnouts, according to a nonpartisan survey of voter rolls released Monday. That perhaps is a sign of widespread apathy within both political parties ahead of November’s midterm elections.

Of almost 123 million voters who were eligible to cast ballots in primaries, 18 million have done so, and states with same-day voter registration actually saw their turnout rates drop, according to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. Despite heavy campaign spending that is poised to make history, 15 of the 25 states that have held statewide primary elections each reported a record low percentage of voters who cast ballots.

The low turnout comes amid high stakes. Republicans are driving for the six-seat gain required to control the Senate.

Nonetheless, Democrats saw a 29 percent decline from 2010’s primaries, the 11th consecutive midterm elections to see a drop in participation.

Republicans posted a 15 percent decline in participation from 2010. But their rate was closer to historical norms after tea party enthusiasm in 2010 led to a turnout spike.

The two parties’ combined participation rate this year — 14.8 percent — is much weaker than the recent high of 32 percent, posted in 1966.

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