Editorials: Everyone says turnout is key. So why does it keep going down? | Dan Balz/The Washington Post
Tens of millions of dollars will be spent this year in an effort to boost turnout in the November elections. But the longer-term trends suggest that any marginal increase in what is expected to be a low-turnout election won’t have much effect on one of the chronic problems of America’s politics. The Center for the Study of the American Electorate (CSAE) recently issued a dreary summation about participation in the primary elections so far this year. Based on the 25 states that have already held their primaries, the report chronicled a pattern of voter indifference and, in some cases, record low turnout. In 15 of the 25 states with statewide primaries, turnout was the lowest ever, and only three of the 25 saw an increase over the last mid-term election in 2010. One of those that produced increased turnout was Mississippi, but that happened during the extraordinarily contested run-off election between Sen. Thad Cochran (R) and his tea party challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel.