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Voter Turnout Low in Benton County

May 15, 2012

By Heather Turner

BENTON COUNTY, Ore. — It appears voters in Benton County aren’t very interested in Tuesday’s election.  Voter turnout is at its lowest point in the past 20 years.

Benton County elections employees say normally at this point in the primary elections they’d expect at least a 40 percent voter turnout, but this year is very unique, and the numbers have been lacking.

Deputy clerks kept busy counting votes Tuesday, but it’s nothing like they’re used to on the final day to turn in ballots.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Benton County had accepted just less than 15,000 ballots.  With more than 47,000 eligible voters, that comes to about a 31 percent turnout.

Election office employees say they aren’t sure why the results are so low.

“A lot of people would think one vote doesn’t count, I might as well not cast my ballot, if 50 people think that way, our elections are so close that that could actually change the outcome of a candidates election or a measure,” said Benton Co. Elections Administrator Jill Van Buren.

“I think it’s kind of sad since we’re a mail-in ballot, you don’t have to actually go to the booth and you have plenty of time to send it out early,” said Benton County Voter Audrey Irwin.

“I think it’s important for people to vote so that everyone’s got a voice, and hopefully people will vote and we come out with somebody that we want,” said Benton County Voter Ken Abrassart.

Some voters say the low numbers may be because there’s not much competition.  In many of the races, there’s only one candidate to choose.

It’s too late to mail in your ballots, but you still have until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night to drop them off at the Benton County Elections Office or at any of the official drops boxes around the county.

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