Anticipated voter turnout for 2013 general election

In her video, Nicole Septaric looks at what kind of voter turnout the Board of Elections is anticipating for November 5.  In her story, Cassie Smith looks at the types of elections and the types of people who are voting in them. [rpavideo caption = “Nicole Septaric finds out what kind of voter turnout the Board of Elections is anticipating for November 5.”  ]RPA_04_Septaric_VoterTurnout[/rpavideo]

Off year elections are important, too

By Cassie Smith PORTAGE COUNTY, OHIO — Brad Cromes, deputy director of the board of elections, has a message for those who don’t think off year, “local in nature,” elections are as important as presidential elections. “In a lot of ways, these races have a lot more impact on your daily life than the presidential race will in terms of how your school is managed and what sort of taxes you’re paying,” he said. “Ultimately, your school boards and local folks are making a lot of those decisions as far as what to put on the ballot, so in many ways these local elections matter a lot more to your pocketbook and daily life than even the big presidential elections do.”

“In many ways these local elections matter a lot more to your pocketbook and daily life than even the big presidential elections do.” — Brad Cromes

And while this may be true, past election results in Portage County show that off year general elections have about a 40% voter turnout, whereas presidential elections have about a 70% turnout. Primary election voter turnout is also influenced by the types of issues on the ballot. In Portage County, the presidential primary election in 2012 had about a 23% voter turnout.  The 2013 primary resulted in about a 9% turnout.

Types of Elections

In a primary election, voters are choosing their candidates for the general election. These elections are conducted by the government on behalf of political parties. In a general election, voters are deciding which candidates should be voted into office, Cromes said.

The Board of Elections
The Board of Elections

Presidential elections do so well because they are extremely well funded, have extremely well-known candidates and a lot of resources including people knocking on doors, people offering to drive others to and from the polls and a vast amount of advertisements, Ryan Claassen, Associate Professor in the department of political science, said. Off year elections simply lack these resources, causing a decrease in the amount of voters.

Who’s voting?

In each election there is a group of consistent voters. These individuals tend to be older in age and “skew a little whiter,” Cromes said. On top of consistent voters, national elections tend to generate more interest from college students and minority populations. In primary elections many voters identify strongly with a certain political party, where general elections tend to bring out a broader group of people – strong partisan voters, consistent voters and independent minded people, he said. This year’s November 5 election is what Claassen calls an off, off year election.  There are no federal or statewide offices or statewide issues on the ballot. It is primarily judicial, city council and mayoral elections along with tax levies. “These local races are very important to determining what you’re paying in taxes, who’s representing you at a local level and from a day-to-day basis, these are the folks who are really making the decisions that are going to impact your life,” Cromes said.