Archived Story

Minn. Primary’s 9 percent turnout second worst in 62 years

Published 10:52am Thursday, August 16, 2012

ST. PAUL — Only 9 percent of Minnesota’s eligible voters cast ballots in the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary election, according to an estimate by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

That is the second-lowest turnout for a primary in the 62 years that state officials have kept such election records. The previous low was 7.7 percent in 2004. Before that, the smallest turnout was 10.1 percent in 1988.

In recent decades, the average voter turnout for primaries was around 15 percent. During the 1950s and 1960s, turnouts usually were more than 30 percent.

Although turnout statistics by congressional district aren’t available yet, it appears the 8th District with its hotly contested, three-candidate DFL congressional race had a relatively large turnout. About 74,000 voters cast ballots in the 8th, accounting for 22 percent of the votes cast throughout the state.

About 38,000 voters turned out in the 1st District, where there was a contested Republican congressional race. That represents about 12 percent of the statewide turnout, which is close to the average for a congressional district.


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