SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Historically, voter turnout in primary elections is low. It’s a trend political scientists have been noticing for decades, and something avid voters can’t comprehend.
“I don’t understand it. We live in the greatest country in the world, it’s peaceful, our transition of power has been peaceful for more than 200 years. People come here because of freedom,” said Patti Gallante, an avid voter.
We asked political consultant Paul Robbins why most Americans only head to the voting booth in November.
“People think prime time for campaign is the general election. The other thing that people battle with is the end of summer, you have labor day. Primaries are typically right at the end of summer, so when people are campaigning vigorously in August, half the people aren’t even around,” Robbins told 22News.
Some races are actually determined in the primary election. For example, this year four candidates running for Hampden County District Attorney are all Democrats. That means whoever wins the primary, is the new DA.
For all other races, primaries narrow down candidates to one Democrat and one Republican, setting the stage for the general election. Still, voting takes time. It takes time to learn about the candidates and time to get to the polls.
“It’s inconvenient sometimes. It’s only on one day, and you have to get there on that day to do it and so sometimes you got a lot of other things going on these days,” said Phillip Dudas of Chicopee.
Robbins said candidates change their campaign strategy for the primary to focus mainly on those they know will vote. The primary election is September 9th.