Primary Election Voter Turnout Unchanged Over Thirty Years
Unchanged in numbers voting; worse as a percent of the eligible voting public.
News reports this week cited the Idaho Secretary of State’s office stating that turnout in the 2010 primary was the best in ten years. This is true: the 202,000 total ballots cast in 2010 is almost the same as the 210,000 in year 2000.
Both primary election years had more than 200,000 people vote. But in year 2010 there are more than 100,000 additional people registered to vote. So turnout in raw numbers may be equal but the percent of registered voters who bothered to show up on Tuesday or to vote absentee is actually down.
In fact, since the 1980 primary election the voter turnout has not really increased. And in 1980 there were less than 500,000 registered voters while today there are 750,000. Given the increased number of people, the primary election is becoming less relevant as people skip the opportunity to vote.
While overall voting has been flat over the past thirty years the numbers in the Republican party have increased slightly while those participating in the Democratic Party nomination races has decreased. The last post dealt with this phenomenon, noting that the 2010 turnout in the Democratic Party primary was the worst on record, as a percent of registered voters.