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June 6, 2014

Voter turnout down 8 percent in Cullman Co. when compared to 2010

Despite having several hotly contested local races on the ballot, voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was down 8 percent when compared to the last primary in 2010.

A total of 16,032 people voted in Tuesday’s primary, included 15,614 on the Republican ballot and just 418 on the Democratic. Those numbers are down considerably with 2010, when a total of 17,446 people voted, including 13,571 Republicans and 3,862 Democrats. Participation in this year’s primary was down more than 8 percent when compared to 2010.

Of the 49,805 registered voters in Cullman County, approximately 32 percent participated in the primary.

Major local races included Cullman County Sheriff, both associate Cullman County Commission seats, local state representative seats and state senator for the Cullman County area.

Anyone can vote in a Republican party primary in Alabama, regardless of party affiliation, which could possibly account for the stark difference in Democratic turnout from election-to-election over the past four years. There is also no rule against crossover voting in the Republican runoff election set for next month.

Across the state, voter turnout for Alabama’s primary election was much lower than four years ago — and 10 percent lower than the Cullman County participation rate.

The Associated Press reports more than 610,000 voters participated. When the final votes are counted, the turnout is expected to approach 22 percent of those registered to vote. The turnout for the primary four years ago was 32 percent, but both political parties had hot races for governor that year. The races for governor Tuesday were lopsided, with Republican incumbent Robert Bentley and Democrat Parker Griffith winning easily.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett had predicted a turnout of 25 to 27 percent, but he says it became clear early in the day that the turnout was going to be light.

He’s predicting the turnout for the runoff election July 15 will be about 5 percent.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.

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