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October 9, 2006

record low turnout in the primaries

(In Athens, Georgia, for a meeting on youth and the news media.) According to Curtis Gans, dean of the turnout experts, participation in the 44 states that recently held Democratic primaries was 8.4 percent of those eligible to vote, a record low. Turnout in the 40 states that held Republican primaries also set a pathetic record: 7.2 percent.

As Gans notes, this doesn't mean much for November. In both 1982 and 1994, people stayed home in the primary and then turned out in force for the main event, defeating many incumbents in high-turnout elections. However, the low participation in primaries is itself a problem. Gans says, "the degree of decline (57 percent since 1966) and the level of average turnout ... in statewide [primary] races is a danger to American democracy."

October 9, 2006 7:45 AM | category: none


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