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Simpson County Clerk Expects Low Voter Turnout for Primary

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

As Democrats and Republicans in Kentucky head to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 to vote in the primary election for governor and other state officers, many election officials are expressing concern over the anticipated low turnout. 

Tuesday’s primary includes four Republican candidates for governor, four Democratic candidates for governor and others running for attorney general, state auditor and commissioner of agriculture.

Even with the ongoing controversy about how to resolve the state’s troubled pension systems, and teachers repeatedly rallying at the state capitol,Simpson County Clerk Jolene Thurman said she does not expect those issues to bring out a large number of voters in the primary.

“Honestly, I’m thinking 10 to 15 percent. We would love more, obviously," said Thurman. "But historically with the primary and on the state level with these races, it’s usually 10 to 15 percent. Sad but true.”

She said the widening divide between political parties is making it even worse, and probably having a negative impact on voter enthusiasm.

“I think a lot of people are just getting to the point that they’re done with and they just don’t care, and that’s sad. Sad to see and sad to say, but I think that’s a lot of it," said Thurman. "The division just trickles down and they think, What’s it matter?”

Thurman said the November 2018 general election brought out an unusually large number of voters in Simpson County – 45 percent. She said that’s likely because of city and county offices on the ballot, and local races usually result in a larger turnout.  

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. local time.

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