Voter turnout drops in 2010 midterm elections

Lucas Aulbach

Last Tuesday’s election had a Kentucky voter turnout rate of about 48.9 percent, according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections.

That’s only a slight drop from the last midterm elections in 2006, when the turnout was 49.5 percent. But its a larger drop from the 64 percent turnout in the 2008 elections.

But the rate didn’t seem to surprise many WKU students.

Greensburg junior Hunter Stevens, who voted via absentee ballot, was disappointed by the turnout.

“It makes me sad because I feel like there needs to be more input, but I’m not surprised,” she said.

Owensboro junior Jared Jewell said he was not shocked by the participation either.

“The national rate last election was 54 percent so I’m not surprised it went down,” he said.

Jewell was unable to vote in the midterm election because he didn’t apply for an absentee ballot, but there weren’t any candidates on the ballot that he thought represented his beliefs.

Warren County had about a 47.6 percent voter turnout, according to the data released.

City Commissioner Bruce Wilkerson thought the turnout for the county was good, but he said we should always strive “to get more informed voters out there.”

Louisville freshman Katie Miller thinks a “lack of production” in Washington D.C. discouraged people from voting.

“I think people are apathetic towards voting because it doesn’t seem like much has been done by people in office to validate those votes,” she said.

Absentee voting rates were also lower this year.

There were about 5,000 ballots less cast this year than last year’s midterm election in the state, according to The Courier-Journal.

Keith Rouda is the regional coordinator in Kentucky for MoveOn’s, a national political activism organization that supports progressive policies and ideals.

Rouda thinks that the low voter turnout rate played a big role in determining who was elected.

“The reason Democrats lost where they lost this year was because young people who voted in 2008 didn’t come out in 2010,” he said.

Senator-elect Republican Rand Paul, from Bowling Green, Ky., defeated Attorney General Jack Conway, from Louisville, Ky., in the race for a seat on the U.S. Senate on Nov. 2.

Republican Brett Guthrie retained his position as congressional representative for Kentucky’s second district against Democrat Ed Marksberry.

Erlanger freshman Tres Cloar has volunteered for Paul’s campaign at the Republican victory headquarters in Bowling Green since August.

He said he was pleased with the results of the election.

“I’m glad that my months of hard work paid off on election day,” Cloar said.

He said his work included giving rides to voters on election day, collecting results from precincts and calling potential voters reminding them to vote leading up to election day.

Cloar said he voted in the election via absentee ballot.

Next year’s election, set for Nov. 1, will determine the state’s next governor, which Louisville freshman Jacob Fields is already preparing for.

“I know the governor plans to expand gambling in Kentucky,” he said. “I want to support him.”