Politics & Government

Few Kentuckians are likely to bother going to the polls Tuesday

FRANKFORT — Voter turnout in Tuesday's primary elections is expected to be 10 percent to 12 percent, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Thursday.

Grimes said turnout should be a little higher in the 4th Congressional District in Northern Kentucky, where there are contested primaries for Republicans and Democrats to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis.

Grimes, at a news conference in the Capitol, said her predictions were based on turnout in previous elections with presidential primaries.

The last presidential election in 2008 is not a good indicator of this year's turnout because the Democratic turnout was heavier than usual — 32 percent — because of the spirited race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Grimes said.

This year's presidential election, in which Obama and Republican Mitt Romney have secured their party nominations, is analogous to 2004 and 1996, when an incumbent president was seeking re-election.

The primary voter turnout in Kentucky in 2004 was 14 percent; in 1996, it was 18.2 percent.

The presidential primary election this year is not bringing Kentuckians out to the polls, Grimes said.

"It's the congressional race, state race or local race that's driving turnout," she said.

In addition to the presidential race, the ballot this year includes all the U.S. House districts, half of the state Senate districts (odd numbers), all state House districts, commonwealth's attorneys, judgeships for the state Supreme Court in Eastern Kentucky's 7th District and the Court of Appeals in Jefferson County, and some local races.

More Kentuckians than ever are registered to vote: 2,980,009. That breaks down to 1,646,927 Democrats, 1,122,447 Republicans and 210,635 others.

The state also has more voting precincts than ever: 3,634.

Grimes said redistricting, conducted this year because of population changes, added 56 precincts, most of them in Jefferson County. Fayette County did not gain any precincts.

Voters in the new precincts have been notified about changes of location for their polling places, Grimes said.

For information about voter registration status, location of polling place and additional election information, go to the Voter Information Center on the state Board of Elections' Web site, Elect.ky.gov.