Monday, November 2, 2015

Turnout in Indianapolis (Marion County) Elections

Here are the turnout numbers for the last six municipal elections in Indianapolis (Marion County) according to the Marion County Clerk's website:

2011  29.98%
2007  26.32%
2003  26.81%
1999  36.18%
1995  26.57%
1991  47.84%

The figures show there was a substantial drop in turnout between 1991 and the years that followed.  However, the untold story is how Indiana's inflated voter registration rolls make turnout appear lower than it actually is.  In 1991, there were 417,512 people registered in the county.  Twenty years later, in 2011, there were 604,429 voters registered, an increase of nearly 45% which is far above the county's 13% increase in population during that time.  The difference is a direct result of Congress in 1993 passing the Motor Voter Bill which eliminated automatic purges for not voting and made it much more difficult for states to eliminate deceased voters and those that who have moved.   Indiana has been one of the worst states in the country in terms of cleaning up voter registration rolls, making the state's turnout numbers appear much worse than they actually are.

I do expect that the turnout numbers on Tuesday to be less than 25%.  The top of the ticket drives turnout and this appears to be the least competitive mayor's race since 1995 when Republican Steve Goldsmith ran for re-election against Democrat Z. Mae Jimison.

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