Primaries’ small voter turnout attributed to lack of time, apathy

Only 16.2 percent of Minnesotans voted in Tuesday’s primaries — a slim minority of the voting-age population, according to the an unofficial estimate by The Associated Press.
The Census Bureau estimates the state has 3.57 million eligible voters. According to ballots in four U.S. Senate primaries, 577,683 votes were cast.
Political observers said the campus turnout mirrored the low participation statewide.
Karen Louise Boothe, communications director for the Minnesota DFL Party, said she was discouraged by the low participation among students.
Boothe said candidates need to do a better job of reaching out to young people. The low number should be a “wake-up call” for politicians before the November general election.
As for causes of the low voter turnout, Boothe suggested students might have been too busy with the start of school to take time to vote.
Chad Martin, a mechanical engineering senior, said he didn’t vote because he didn’t have time.
“I wasn’t aware exactly which elections were in it, but I was aware there was an election yesterday,” he said.
The Republican primary was largely uncontested, with Sen. Rod Grams earning 89 percent of the votes compared to challenger Bill Dahn, who received 11 percent.
Michael Miller, a University student with the College Republicans, said the relatively uncompetitive Republican race could have been a factor in voter apathy among students.
But for some students, the logistics of voting served as a deterrent.
University junior Clifford Buccione said he didn’t vote in the primary because he’s only a temporary resident in the University area.
“Whatever I do doesn’t really matter, but I will vote in the presidential election and at where I’m from,” said the Apple Valley native.
Some students did find their way to the polls on Tuesday.
Biology senior Dave Schafer said too many people remain uneducated about how to vote and where to go.
“It’s tough, though,” he said. “People need to know this is a way to express yourself.”

— Compiled from staff and wire reports.