Voter turnout low in Tuesday's primary

Fewer than 8% cast ballots in Marion County

INDIANAPOLIS - It is now clear who will appear on the ballot in November, but only a small percentage of voters played a role in selecting the candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

It costs $1 million to hold an election in Marion County -- regardless of how many people turn out to vote. On Tuesday, fewer than 8 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in Marion County.

The voter turnout in Marion County was the lowest it has been in quite some time, but the numbers were low elsewhere too.

The Republican nominee for Fishers' very first mayor greeted supporters after learning he won the primary Tuesday night.

It was likely the most heavily contested local race, but did little to drive turnout.

Peggy Cox is one of about 15 percent of registered voters in Fishers who cast a ballot.

"Civic duty and just because it's very important to get out and vote and have your voice be heard," Cox said.

IUPUI political science professor William Blake said Tuesday's numbers were lower than average, but not unusual, especially in a non-presidential election year.

"If there isn't a lot of information being put out about the candidates, which is often the case, voters simply don't know there's an election or much about the candidates who are on the ballot," Blake said.

Blake argues that could be on purpose. He said midterm primaries aren't necessarily good for the political parties.

"Midterms, primaries mean incumbents become vulnerable, or even if they survive a primary challenge, they've already had to spend significant resources that could be better spent towards the November general election," Blake said.

That prompted us to ask the question to our political insiders if primaries are necessary.

"No. I prefer the political parties nominate their own taxpayers and give the people a break," said Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, editor-in-chief of indypolitics.org.

"I think there is a point for political parties to have greater influence than they do, we had reforms before where we took it out of the hands of political conventions. But it appears to me the voters don't care about primaries when they're not showing, so maybe the parties ought to make that decision," said former chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party Kip Tew.

About 12 percent of the registered voters in Hamilton County cast a ballot. In Johnson County, only 9 percent voted.

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