Low numbers early as voters hit the polls in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Low numbers early as voters hit the polls in Eau Claire


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Voters statewide are busy narrowing the field of candidates for the November general election. Here in Eau Claire we're told voter turnout is lower than in recent years.

The Government Accountability Board had predicted a 15% voter turnout for this primary across the state. Here in Eau Claire, the city clerk says she expects about half of that number.

"I think we're going to end up with relatively low voter turnout," said Donna Austad, Eau Claire City Clerk.

The ballots are being cast both on paper and electronically. But in Eau Claire, just two percent of voters had made their picks by noon.

"Partisan primaries in the fall aren't one of our high turnouts anyways, but it will be even a little lower than normal for us," explained Austad.

One voter says even though this isn't the general election, he still wants others to be more politically active.

"When I see some of these countries that are in the Middle East that are striving to develop a democracy, and they have a turnout of over 60% of the eligible electorate, I think its shameful that we end up with only 15 or 20% of the vote in a primary," said John Prince of Eau Claire.

But if nothing else, low voter turnout leads to one unintended benefit.

"Haven't heard of any problems at any of the sites. Things seem to be going very smoothly, its a quiet turnout, so voters get a lot of personal attention," added Austad.

As of 5:30 p.m. voter turnout in the city was up to 7.6%. The city clerk said earlier today that she expected voter turnout to be in the 7 to 10% range by the time the polls close in Eau Claire.

One thing to keep in mind is that in a primary election voters will need to pick for just one party.

If you do vote across party lines your ballot will not be counted.

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