Archived Story

County sees steep decline at primaries

Published 10:25am Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Though the 2012 primary election is done, fewer people are exercising their right to vote.

Mower County Auditor/Treasurer Doug Groh said Mower County has been on a steep decline in total voters in the primary for a number of years, since the switch was made from a September to an August primary.

“What I’ve seen is a decline in the participation in August primaries as opposed to September,” Groh said.

In 2004, for example, 6,115 voters went to the polls out of 21,069 registered voters, including same-day registrations. In 2006, about 4,200 votes were cast out of 21,505 voters. In 2008, the last presidential election, 21,900 voters were registered but only 3,422 people voted.

The number of voters appear to be dropping after the primary switched from September to August. Despite 3,711 people who voted out of 20,923 registered voters in 2010, only 2,878 people voted out of 20,067 registered voters this year, according to unofficial estimates.

Groh thinks people aren’t as willing to vote in August, when people are often concerned about vacations and enjoying the summer, as opposed to September or even June.

“Either [have] a September or a June, but not an August primary,” Groh said.

Since such a low percentage of voters are turning out for the primary elections, Groh isn’t sure an August primary is worth the funds necessary to hold it.

“I don’t feel it’s really justified,” he said.

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