Secretary of State predicts 25-28% voter turnout for Ky.'s Nov. 8 election

10/24/2011 04:11 PM

Barely more than a quarter of registered Kentucky voters are expected to show up at the polls for the Nov. 8 statewide elections, according to Secretary of State Elaine Walker.

Walker told reporters that her official estimate is between 25 and 28 percent turnout.

That’s a sharp drop from the 37 percent who showed up to vote in the 2007 statewide office elections.

And it would be the lowest turnout in a governor’s race since 22 percent came to the polls in 1999 when Democratic Gov. Paul Patton was running for a second term against Republican Peppy Martin and independent Gatewood Galbraith.

Walker explained why she thought there would be fewer voters showing up compared to four years ago:

County clerks have reported just 5,600 people have requested absentee ballots so far and another 3,800 voting absentee early at the the clerks’ offices for a total of about 9,400. Four years ago, 37,000 Kentuckians voted absentee.

The political consequences of such low turnout is that a group of motivated voters could sway the election, she said.

Kentucky has seen some slight increases in new voters since the May primary. Republicans added about 15,400 new voters — an uptick of 1.4 percent — while Democrats added about 5,700 — an increase of 0.3 percent. Independents or those registered as others also increased by about 5,100.

Overall, Democrats outnumber Republicans in Kentucky 1.64 million to 1.1 million.

Walker explained why she thought the ranks of voters continued to increase despite tepid interest in the statewide races.

Walker also addressed whether some clerks are having trouble finding Republican and Democratic precinct observers and workers to work the polls on Election Day.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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