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Zach Huffman

Bleak Voter Turnout Expected in this year’s election
On November 3rd schools, libraries and public offices will close part of their facilities to
accommodate for Election Day across the State of Indiana. County Clerk offices will
begin dragging in voting ballots the evening before, allowing polling officers time to
prepare for their 6 a.m. opening.

Prior to Election Day, polling officers will have attended an hour-long training session to
teach them the basics on how to run a polling station. Starting up the machines, marking
the poll books and what to do in the case of an error message appearing on the screen are
all included in the training. Once the training concludes each official will have been given
instructions on how to properly facilitate the site.

Although this year County Clerks, Politicians and voters are taking a different approach
when it comes to the general election. They’re preparing for low voter turnout, and it’s
impacting the way they usually get ready for the election.

Over the past several years Indiana has seen a decline in voter turnout, excluding
presidential elections. The lowest percentage was recorded just last year with only 30
percent of registered voters showing up to the poles. According to the United States
Elections Project Indiana holds the title for lowest voter turnout rate amongst all 50
states.

Delaware and Grant Counties are amongst the five lowest voting counties within the
state, while Jay County serves as the states highest voter turnout rate at 52 percent.
Marilyn Flowers is a professor of economics at Ball State University and she says that
Hoosiers just don’t have any incentive to go out and vote.

“There isn’t any economic reward for people to go out and vote. That’s why you’re
seeing low voting numbers.”

Flowers described that in today’s political landscape often one vote doesn’t make a
difference in elections. This thought is causing people to second-guess if their vote even
matters.

“The closest vote that we always hear about was the Bush and Gore election,” said
Flowers, “but even then the electoral college determined the winner and not the popular
vote.”

Marion Mayoral candidate Jess Allumbaugh hired a research firm to analyze voting
records due to the lack of voter participation in Grant County. The average voter in the
city of Marion is a 65-year-old white Male, which has caused Allembaugh to utilize a
different campaign strategy.

“There aren’t many Democrats in Marion so I’m going door to door and targeting leaning
republicans to try to switch them over.”

Allumbaugh’s research team has conducted in-depth investigations on voter history,
which includes determining straight ticket voters. Their goal is to determine which way
Marion precincts commonly vote so they can target promoting more heavily in those
areas.

“I’m trying to play Moneyball, but in politics and with a lot less money.” Said
Allumbaugh “I have to reach out to the few democrats here and make sure they actually
go out and vote.”

Meanwhile in Muncie, Indiana there is only one-contested race, which has forced
Delaware County Clerk Mike King to reassess staffing for the election season.
“The poll numbers are probably going to be very low,” said King. “I’ve cut the assistance
needed on Election Day because we don’t expect many people to come out.”

King’s office has sent out fliers and placed advertisements in local newspapers to remind
taxpayers to get out and vote, but King remains fearful to see numbers improve.

“It could be a long day for all of us if we don’t get anyone to show up.”

King credits voter apathy to not having many contested races, “Do they really want to
take the time to go out and vote when their vote only matters for one race?”

Yet, it’s the “incentive” that Flowers focused on which is changing the way voters come
out to the polls. She described how lobbyists are funding many politicians in elections.
Although voters are becoming more knowledgeable on how policy will be enacted to
support lobbyists who donated to the winning candidate.

Flowers referenced the price of sugar in the United States compared to other countries
across the world. The U.S. has policies in place that restrict importing sugar from other
countries, causing the U.S. to pay a higher price in sugar.

“How many people actually know about this sugar policy, and are willing to do
something about it?” said Flowers. “Not enough!”

Flowers claims that politician’s wont lower the price of sugar because the sugar lobbyists
are paying them money, and not enough constituents care to call them out on it.

Therefore according to Flowers, voters are discovering that politicians will often do what
is best for their lobbyist rather than their constituents. It is this mindset that is making
voters second-guess whether or not their vote will actually benefit them in the long run.

For Marion resident Josh Molnar voting just isn’t the same as it once was.

“Voting used to be this exciting thing we all did. Now its just who is the lessor of the two
evils.”

Molnar believes that candidates are glossing over what needs to be done, and focusing
strategically on playing the game of politics.

“Its no longer about the taxpayers. It’s what’ll get me into office.”

On November 3rd Allumbaugh will hope that his Moneyball style campaign will pay off,
while King is preparing to see some of the lowest numbers in voting history due to the
uncontested races.