Primary turnout lowest in 16 years

May 8—ANDERSON — The turnout in Tuesday's primary was the lowest in the last five presidential years.

Of the 88,933 registered voters in Madison County, only 18,393 ballots were cast or 20.68%.

Four years ago, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the primary was moved from May to June.

That year, 24,000 ballots were cast of the 89,000 registered voters or 27%.

During the contested 2016 presidential primary, the turnout was 38.3% and there were 36,636 ballots cast.

The percentage in 2012 was 23%. In 2008, when Democrat Barack Obama was running for the presidential nomination, the turnout was 43%.

With contested races for governor, 5th District Congress and several county offices, 73% of the ballots were cast in the Republican Party primary or 13,532 votes.

Democrats had a congressional race and one county contest, and 4,861 people cast ballots in the primary.

"It was about what I was hoping for," Russ Willis, chairman of the local Republican Party, said. "I am very pleased with the primary results. It is obvious the Republican voters were informed voters in the primary election."

Terri Austin, chairperson of the Madison County Democratic Party, said it's hard to predict voter turnout.

"I think there will be a strong turnout in the fall," she said. "Indiana is either last or next to last when it comes to turnout in the nation.

"That should be a concern for everyone," Austin said. "The turnout was not enough and is not a good sign."

She said it was an unusual election because of the different factions in the Republican Party.

"We're going to sit down and talk about our plan for the fall," Austin said.

There was a faction of the Republican Party that spotlighted the election for the party's precinct committee persons in an attempt to change the party leadership in 2025.

Of the 40 targeted races, the candidates endorsed by Katherine Callahan and her supporters won in 17 of the 40 races with one ending in a tie.

Willis said they didn't flip enough of the precinct committee offices to impact the leadership vote of the party in 2025.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.