Record-low voter turnout in state primary elections

22News finds out what it takes to get voters to polls.

Photo Courtesy: MGNonline
Photo Courtesy: MGNonline

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It takes effort to vote: Time in your busy day to cast a ballot and the means to educate yourself on the issues prove to be too much effort for people in many states. Of the 25 states already holding primary elections, 15 had record-low turnouts.

22News asked Agawam Town Clerk Richard Theroux why that would be. “I think the issues overall in the country are that there’s a frustration. The average voter says, ‘why can’t we settle these problems. Why can’t not only Washington settle them, but also on the local level?’” explained Theroux.

Voters need to feel impassioned to actually get out and vote. For many in western Massachusetts, that passion this year could come from the casino referendum on whether or not Massachusetts should be allowed to build casinos, especially one in Springfield.

Voters in the Commonwealth will also elect a new governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, among other district and state seats.

“I would say it’s a governor’s race. It’s been bouncing back and forth in Massachusetts between Republican and Democrat and it’s kind of up in the air right now as far as what the voters are going to select,” said Southwick voter Larry Bates.

Many voters don’t have the time to research every candidate and issue before voting.

“Just the political ads, what’s hot at this moment. Just a knee-jerk reaction. They’re not very bright, and that’s the reason we’re in the mess we’re in actually,” said Anthony McPherson, when asked what he thought got people interested in voting.

Theroux said candidates should take advantage of how much campaign ads resonate with voters to inform them where they stand on each issue, prior to the midterm elections, which are on November 4. Party primary elections are being held on September 9.

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