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County voter turnout in Primary remains low

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Low voter turnout in Primary Elections continued this year.

A total of 4,953 ballots were cast in Tuesday's election, which is the second-lowest total for the county in a mid-term Primary since 1990. The lowest turnout in that time period came in 2002 when 4,908 ballots were cast. This year's turnout was 39 ballots fewer than were submitted in 2006 (4,992)

Of those who voted, 4,416 did so in person -- which is the lowest amount since 1990 -- while absentee voting reached its peak in the last 20 years with 537.

Voter registration was also down by 1,050 compared to the 2006 Primary (19,713), as 18,663 individuals were eligible to vote this year. Overall, 26.54 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, which is also the second-lowest total since 1990.

Out of the county's 23 precincts, only three (Jackson 3, Jackson 1 and Washington) had more than one-third of its respective voters make their voices heard. Jackson 3 had the highest percentage turnout with 40.38 percent (126 of 312).

Four other precincts had a voter turnout of less than 20 percent during Tuesday's election. These precincts are (listed by descending percentages:

* Posey 2 -- 19.94 percent (133 of 667),

* Brazil 3 -- 19.7 percent (213 of 1,081),

* Brazil 1 -- 18.57 percent (223 of 1,201), and

* Brazil 6 -- 16.18 percent (95 of 587).

The highest percentage of absentee votes came from the Brazil 5 precinct as 40 of the 198 ballots cast came in that manner.

With the majority of heated races coming on the Republican side, some voters switched parties in hopes of making more of an impact.

However, this change will be in effect for at least a year.

"Every election has a number of people who change parties for the Primary since it is straight-ticket voting," Clay County Deputy Clerk Beth Mallinak told The Brazil Times. "Since you don't have to register with a specific party in Indiana, the affiliation is based on the ballot you choose in the Primary."

Mallinak added party status cannot change until a ballot is cast in a future Primary Election. For county residents, this will take place in 2012, while residents eligible to vote in the 2011 municipal election may do so then.

"It really doesn't make much of a difference in the General Election because all the candidates are on the same ballot," she said.

Although the State of Indiana does not have an automatic recount system, or a statutory minimum or maximum vote differential to petition for a recount, there is a time limit to do so.

Candidates who may feel the election results may be incorrect have until noon, Tuesday, May 18, to file a verified election recount or contest position.

According to the Indiana Secretary of State's Office, the petition is similar to a lawsuit, which would have to be filed with either the Superior or Circuit Court. The cost for the recount would be paid with a bond that can vary between $100 and thousands, depending on the vote percentage differential and number of precincts needed to be recounted.

Updated school board results

The following figures reflect the final tally of votes cast in the race for the three At-Large positions on the Clay Community School Board of Trustees, including those cast in Jackson Township in Parke County, which were provided to the Clay County Election Office Wednesday. Results from Parke County did not affect the winners in this race.

* Robert A. (Rob) Miller -- 66 (Parke County), 3,172 overall,

* Amy Burke Adams -- 76 (Parke County), 2,709 overall,

* Ronald Lee Scherb -- 49 (Parke County), 2,276 overall,

* Barbara E. Nicoson -- 46 (Parke County), 2,040 overall,

* Philip D. Greenwell -- 29 (Parke County), 1,086 overall,

* Leo L. Southworth -- 41 (Parke County), 1,047 overall.

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So less than 25% of the people have spoken...Sad state of affairs. I hope none of those 75% who didn't vote will not complain or say things will never change. When there is a high turnout things CAN change as they did in the last presidential election. NO one thought that our community would come out in favor of the democratic presidential candidate but it did....Local politics generally has more direct impact on our lives than national politics so people here have given up their rights to decide for themselves. Every vote counts only if everyone votes.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 8:26 AM

You would have thought the paper would have had a reminder the day before. Nothing.

Something as important as voting.

Most people said they forgot and meant to vote.

I did not see anything about it, they did have a write up the week before that voter turn out would be low. Hmmm. No offense if Im wrong about this, but I sure didnt see or read anything about it. The news didnt mention it the night before that I recall.

-- Posted by Pearl2083 on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 3:41 PM

well the good thing is none of the races were even close so the results would have been the same.


-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 5:48 PM

It really is sad that people who have the chance to vote do not. If it is important to them, how can a person truthfully say that they meant to but forgot? I can get busy and forget to eat, misplace my coffee cup or a tool, or forget a routine doctor's appointment if I'm feeling okay. I might forget my own year of birth, but I don't forget my wife's birthday, our anniversary, or any Election Day and I don't vote in the primaries as I belong to neither party.

Cat811 - nothing to be sorry about. There was never a chance in the race for all six of us to win a seat. It was always the choice of the electorate and that is the way it should be. I posted my congratulations on the article that first appeared with the announcement.

I won't say that I was not a little disappointed, but I learned a long time ago that all is in God's hands. You can pray and pray for something only to find that sometimes God's answer is "No, I have something else in store for you." So, God willing, you will see my name on the ballot at another time.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 6:21 PM

Funny thing I actually had realivites say they forgot. I had friends say, they never vote in the primarys. They thought the primarys was just local school boards, and local city offices, they didnt know it was everything. I found a great deal of people really didnt know anything about the primarys.

My self getting over 14hundred votes without any advertising is pretty good. All I spent is stamps and one tank of gas. lol

Maybe next time, I'll try.

Billy J. Mahoney WAS for U.S. Congress, who knows next time.

Special thanks to my friends, you know who you are and what I mean.

-- Posted by Wild Bill Mahoney on Thu, May 6, 2010, at 11:32 PM

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