Voter turnout for the May primary election in Jackson County was 15 percent higher than the state average and the highest percentage turnout since 1990.
According to the Indiana Election Division, 35 percent, or 9,688, of the county’s 27,758 registered voters either voted at a polling site May 8 or voted absentee. On Thursday, the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State certified the results and released turnout and registration information for the May 8 primary.
Local turnout was likely boosted by a four-way race on the Republican ticket for sheriff along with a statewide GOP race for U.S. Senate.
Rick Meyer of Seymour was selected as the Republican nominee and will face Democrat Jeff Walters, also of Seymour, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Mike Braun of Jasper won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate seat and will face incumbent Joe Donnelly, a Democrat who lives in the north central part of the state.
Both races were important to the voters of Jackson County, county Republican Chairwoman Amanda Lowery said.
“We had strong candidates who worked hard to bring voters to the polls early and on Election Day,” said Lowery, who also is county clerk in charge of running the election.
“I’m pleased to see that we had one of the highest turnouts in the state,” she said.
The state average was 20 percent, and just two of the state’s 92 counties had higher turnouts than Jackson County — Jay at 57 percent and Crawford at 38 percent.
Daviess and Fountain counties also had turnouts of 35 percent. The lowest was turnout was in Vanderburgh County, where 10 percent voted.
The last time Jackson County had a turnout of more than 35 percent was 1990 when 7,791, or 36.75 percent, of 20,676 registered voters cast ballots. In 2014, just 4,932, or 16.7 percent, of 29,461 voted. The county’s average for the primary in off-presidential election years is 28 percent.
Absentee voting also continues to rise in Jackson County with 17 percent, or 1,609 registered voters, visiting polling sites prior to Election Day at the courthouses in Brownstown and Seymour or mailing in ballots this year.
Before this year, the highest absentee balloting in a non-presidential primary was 3.4 percent, or 970, in 2010.
“Aside from the convenience of early voting, many candidates encouraged voters to cast absentee ballots, so I’m not really surprised by our higher than normal early voting numbers,” said Lowery, who is a candidate for county recorder in the general election.
It’s a significant increase compared to the 2014 midterm primary turnout but a shade under 2010’s turnout, which was 21 percent.
Voter turnout in surrounding counties was topped by Brown at 31 percent, Scott 28 percent and Bartholomew at 25 percent. Other counties and their percentages were Jennings and Lawrence each at 20 percent, Monroe 19 percent and Washington 24 percent.
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