Voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary was less than 30% in Montgomery County, but foot traffic appears to have been higher at the polls compared to other Indiana counties, Clerk Karyn Douglas said.
A total of 7,119 ballots, including absentee and early votes, were cast in the election out of 24,072 registered voters, a turnout of 29.57%, according to unofficial results.
While counties inundated with mail-in ballots were still tallying votes two days after the polls closed, less than a quarter of registered voters went to the polls in other areas, Douglas said, citing preliminary turnout numbers. The results will be certified later this month.
“We’re one of the higher percentages. Even though it seems kind of sad we didn’t have 30% (of registered voters), compared to the rest of the state, we did pretty good,” Douglas said.
Turnout in 2016’s primary election was 43%, compared to 38% statewide, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office.
With this year’s statewide totals yet to be released, Montgomery County’s turnout in presidential primaries has outpaced the state every year since at least 1992.
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, a surge in early voting likely played a factor in the lower turnout, despite the virus limiting the candidates’ ability to campaign
A total of 4,426 mail-in and early votes were cast in the primary election, surpassing 2016’s total of 3,297. Voters cast 918 absentee primary ballots in 2012.
The clerk’s office encouraged voters to mail in their ballots this year to avoid possible lines on Election Day.
The county expects much higher voter interest in November. Turnout is traditionally higher for general elections, especially in presidential years. Nearly two thirds of registered voters went to the polls in the fall of 2016.
Clerk’s offices are waiting for the state to offer guidance on how to conduct November’s voting.
“The sooner we know from the state what to do, the better,” Douglas said.