FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is projecting approximately 12.5 percent of the 3.4 million Kentuckians registered to vote will turn out for next week’s primary election.
“Based on historical data and current absentee voting patterns, it appears the turnout in this year’s primary election will be consistent with the past primary elections,” said Grimes. “It is not okay that a small portion of Kentuckians will vote to elect the Commonwealth’s next constitutional officers.”
Grimes tracks absentee ballot totals as an indicator of final turnout on Election Day. According to current statistics, Grimes projects turnout for the May 21 primary election will be in the range of the 2015 primary election, when about 12.57 percent of 3.1 million Kentuckians voted, respectively.
As of Monday, more than 5,644 in-person absentee votes had been recorded in county clerks’ offices and nearly 4,518 mail-in absentee ballots had been sent to voters who had requested them.
In the 2015 Primary Election 399,196 of Kentucky’s 3,175,905 registered voters cast ballots.
“It’s not a Kentucky only thing,” said Joshua A. Douglas, a UK law professor, and author. “Low turnout is something that plagues other states as well, but it’s really horrible.”
According to Douglas, there are a lot of contributing factors to low turnout. Among them are lack of voter confidence and the ways states handle registration.
“The fact that we have closed primary elections, meaning you have to be registered in one of the political parties 30 days before election day I think contributes, in part, to some of the low turnout,” Douglas said. “In addition, having elections in odd-numbered years.”
Grimes invited all voters to prove her estimate wrong.
“It’s not okay that more than half of our voters choose not to participate. Prove my prediction wrong, choose to show up to vote on Tuesday,” said Grimes.
Voters can prepare to vote in Kentucky’s Primary Election on May 21 by checking their polling places and viewing sample ballots through GoVoteKY.com.