Tribune Staff Reports

Jackson County registered voters turned out for Tuesday’s primary election, which featured presidential races for both parties, in numbers not seen since 2008.

That’s the year Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama squared off in the primary. Before that primary, Obama visited Columbus East High School, while Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, visited and held a rally at Seymour High School.

Turnout for that primary was 39 percent, or 11,647 of the 29,871 registered voters, which nearly matches Tuesday’s primary, in which 11,990 of the 30,023 registered voters, or 40 percent, cast their ballots.

Cassandra Willis of Seymour was one of those voting for the first time in a primary Tuesday.

“I wanted to do my part,” she said from Zion Lutheran Church on the city’s south side.

But it’s not always easy to choose a candidate, she added.

“I go back and forth. Sometimes, I’m in the middle,” she said.

Voter Nancy Hinderlider of Seymour said like many people, she was most interested in the presidential race, but she wasn’t particularly fond of any of the candidates on the ballot.

With that race taking up most of the political coverage in the media, she said it’s difficult to know who would make the best president.

“It’s a lot to take in,” she said. “But it’s time for a change.”

Debbie Atchison of Seymour said Tuesday was a big day for the state of Indiana, and she was glad to give her support to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

“If Trump gets in, he will build a wall, but we are going to be taxed,” she said.

Hinderlider said she is concerned that many politicians stay in office too long.

“No one should be a career politician,” she said. “I think they need to set more term limits because once they are in office a long time, we get gridlocked, and nothing gets done.”

Besides the big headline races, Hinderlider also had an interest in local races, including the one for Jackson County coroner.

“I know some of the candidates, and I’m here voting to show my support,” she said.

Taking the time to vote is a duty Hinderlider said she is happy to fulfill. She was glad to see so many other people fulfilling their civic responsibility Tuesday, too.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” she said. “And it sets a good example for young people.”

Besides 2008, you have to go back to the 1992 presidential primary to find a turnout even close to Tuesday’s. That was the year Bill Clinton faced California Gov. Jerry Brown during the primary. Clinton would win the party’s nomination and go on to capture the presidency, beating incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush for the first of two terms.

The average turnout for the past six presidential primary elections has been 27 percent, with the lowest percentage being recorded in 2004, when Bush’s son, George W. Bush, ran virtually unopposed. The Democratic Party field featured the eventual winner, John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and Wesley Clark.

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Previous presidential primary election voting activity

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