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Low Primary Turnout Part Of A Trend, Expert Says

While primaries used to allow voters to decide who would run in November, having two elections for one race may discourage voter participation.

Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election was light. In Monroe County, just under eight percent of registered voters turned out at the polls, and in many parts of the state the numbers were much smaller. Indiana University political science professor Marjorie Hershey says primary elections have lost much of their significance for Americans. She says primaries were originally thought to be important because they let the people decide who was going to run in the November election. But she says having two elections for one race may discourage voter participation.

Hershey says the U.S. is one of the few democratic countries to use primaries. She says most people don’t follow primary elections and know little about the candidates. Hershey says the importance of the primaries to many citizens never really existed.

Hershey says many people don’t have a choice to make during primary elections, sometimes because certain races aren’t contested. In Indiana yesterday, 44 mayoral primaries were uncontested.

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