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2012 Voter Turnout Varied Widely Across Indiana

Wells County saw the highest voter turnout at 72 percent. Scott County saw the lowest with 46 percent.

voter leaves

Photo: Bill Shaw/WFIU-WTIU News

A Monroe County resident exits a polling location after voting.

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.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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  • Jack_M_eoph

    To let Satterwhite’s statement, “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” go unchallenged is a crime in itself.
    People don’t vote because they see nothing to convince them any of the choices will make a substantial difference in the direction of their government or the conditions they live with. While republicans & democrats act like the other is the antichrist, many eligible voters see them as twiddle dees & twiddle dums.
    What changed on November 6th or will change when terms expire of the defeated. As yourself that for 20, 30 or 40 years & if the answer is not much, then it is understandable that people don’t bother to vote.
    So long as the 2 parties have a monopoly on debates & primaries, expect this to continue.
    42% of this states eligible voters did not vote. That is almost twice the number of people who voted for Obama & much more than Romney got as well.
    This could easily be seen as an overwhelming victory for “none of the above.”

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