Why Is It People Don't Vote In Primaries?

Especially when a presidential race isn't directly involved.

It wasn't that long ago when turnout for all elections was low.

Since the early 2000's, more people have gone to the polls in November, especially since the nation has had some close-and contentious-presidential battles.

But turnout in primaries-when voters choose the nominees for each party-is still low, especially when there's no race for the White House.

In Washington County, for Tuesday's primary, turnout was just 14%. That's not just "light", that's a poor turnout. Election officials say it's below the turnout for a similar election four years ago. (A similar election, because, in 2010, voters were also deciding, in Ohio, on a governor, legislature, off-year Congress and local county offices.)

West Virginia's primary is next week, and, from all indications, turnout will be similar, although there are more candidates, offices and issues to be decided on.

Admittedly, there are a lot of races where candidates, incumbent and otherwise, were unopposed. Some candidates had token opposition, at best. That's often a reason for voters to stay home.

But I think the real reason for the low turnout is: a lot of people vote only when the President of the United States is being decided on.

It's fair to say that's the most important office in the country. But it's not the ONLY important office. There are leaders at the state and county level who also make important decisions-decisions affecting everyone.

In 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were in a battle for the Democratic nomination, so many people came to the polls that, in some precincts, Washington County ran out of ballots. (Disclaimer: a lot of those primary voters that year were Republicans who requested Democratic ballots to vote-no kidding-for Hillary Clinton.)

I'm not for chaos at the polls. But, in a way, it would be nice to see that kind of enthusiasm, or emotion, in every primary.
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