Numbers released this week by the Indiana Secretary of State’s office show 58 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in this year’s presidential election. The numbers vary widely from county to county and some clerks are frustrated how hard it can be to get people to the polls.
In Wells County, in the northeast part of the state, 72 percent of registered voters voted in the general election, which was the best turnout in the state. Wells County Clerk Yvette Runkle says she focused on getting young people interested in the political process early.
“I went into each senior government classroom and presented that, gave them a mock election on our voting panels and encouraged the students to register to vote,” Runkle says.
But in Scott County, where only 46 percent of people cast ballots, Clerk Fran Satterwhite says she took many of the same measures Runkle did, and they did not appear to work.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with Scott County,” she says.
Satterwhite says she expects an ingrained fear about public service may be dragging her numbers down.
“To be quite honest, I think a lot of people still think that they’re going to get called for jury duty if they’re a registered voter,” she says.
Still, Satterwhite says she is used to turnout percentages in the thirties, so even though her county was last in the state in turnout, 46 percent seems like a windfall.