Record-low turnout for midterm primaries could reflect increasing voter apathy

Voter turnout down by roughly 50 percent in the last 50 years.
By JC Sevcik  |  July 21, 2014 at 7:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 21 (UPI) -- A survey of voter rolls shows record-low voter turnout in 15 of the first 25 statewide primaries for this midterm election.

The non-profit, non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University's School of Public Affairs reported only 14.8 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the first 25 state primaries, down from 18.3 percent in the 2010 midterm elections.

That's about 18.2 million ballots from a pool of some 122.8 million eligible voters.

According to the CSAE, Democratic turnout sas fallen more dramatically than Republican turnout, with Dems down 29 percent from 8.7 percent in 2010 to 6.1 percent in 2014. The GOP's decline wasn't as drastic, dropping from 9.6 percent to 8.2 percent.

Overall voter turnout is less than half of the most recent high of 32 percent in 1966.

(Center for the Study of the American Electorate)

While voter turnout has been declining in both parties over the decades, the Democratic Party has seen a much more pronounced decline. While Republicans historically had a less significant turnout, they have been fairly steady, increasing sharply from 2006 to 2010, when they overtook Democrats at the polls.

While these numbers seem to represent an increasing apathy on the part of voters in general, they show just how dramatically Democratic participation has fallen over the last fifty years and potentially portend a greater Republican turnout in the coming 2014 elections.

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