Janesville72.9°

Average turnout brings disappointment

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
April 2, 2008
— About 20 percent of registered voters in Rock County turned out Tuesday, which is average for a spring election but disappointing to those who value citizen participation in the democratic process.

Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler had predicted 25 percent turnout, based on the interest in various races and ballot questions.


“I personally have the opinion that voting, especially in local elections, is one of the most important things I do, so to only see a 20 percent voter turnout, for me it’s disappointing,” Stottler said.


“Would I love to see those numbers increase and love to see more people get out and get active? Absolutely,” Stottler added.


In Walworth County, Clerk Kimberly Bushey reported a turnout of 20 percent of eligible voters.


Bushey said she always reports her percentages based on eligible voters because that’s the way the state does it. She said the number of registered voters isn’t really known because the number of voters who registered at the polls Tuesday isn’t immediately known.


And the precise number of registered voters wasn’t known before the state changed the rules and started requiring voter-registration in 2006, Bushey said.


Stottler said the voting-age population estimates may not be the best way to figure out voter percentages because some adult not eligible to vote are included in the voting-age estimate.


In raw numbers, 18,957 voters turned out in Rock County on Tuesday, Stottler said. That compares with 20,533 in April 2006, which was the last time a spring election included county board races.


Walworth County’s 20 percent is based on 15,175 voters out of a voting-age population of 77,578. That’s an improvement over April 2006, when 14 percent turned out, Bushey said.


Many more people turned out in the Feb. 19 election, which featured presidential primary choices.


Officials reported a 44 percent turnout in Rock County and 32 percent in Walworth County as Wisconsin weighed in on who should be the Democrat and Republican nominees for the highest seat in the land.



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