Hamilton County currently has 191,852 registered voters. Of them, only 24.63 percent (47,250 people) cast ballots during the May 8 primary election. While voter turnout was low, Hamilton County Election Administrator Kathy Richardson said it was higher than last year’s municipal primary election of 14.62 percent.
“I’m disappointed in the turnout,” said Richardson. “I don’t understand.”
This year’s turnout was 21 percent lower when compared to the last presidential primary election in 2008, which had 46 percent (66,154 of 155,944 voters). During 2008’s general election, Richardson said the turnout rose to 75 percent when 122,087 of the 175,538 registered voters cast ballots. She is optimistic that November’s election will see a much higher attendance at polling places.
“It’ll pick up in the fall. It always picks up in the fall,” she explained. “The presidential general (election) brings out the most people.”
Members of the public who did participate in the democratic system did not report many issues. Richardson said there were a few minor ballot machine problems in the morning, but most issues involved voters reporting to the wrong precincts.
“Everything went very well. We always have a lot of issues in regards to questions poll workers have,” she said. “We’ve been answering questions all day long.”
The 2012 primary election saw all incumbent Hamilton County Republicans win re-election – and three other contested local races. For those voting on the Democratic ticket, there were no candidates outside of a few state and national contests. Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Keith Clock said the party has until noon July 3 to appoint candidates to challenge Republican nominees in November.
“It’s always possible,” he said. “We’ll evaluate races and go from there. We’ll definitely try to give people a choice.”