Politics

Higher voter turnout was considered a key for Democratic hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes’ bid to unseat Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell won the race.

On Tuesday, 46 percent of Kentucky voters took to the polls—slightly below state officials’ forecast of 49 percent. Slightly more than 1.4 million ballots were cast.

The Jefferson County Clerk’s Office had forecast a turnout in Louisville to possible reach as high as 65 percent.

That didn’t happen, either.

Jefferson County’s turnout was 47 percent.

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw on Wednesday said turnout in the 2012 presidential election was 64 percent. In the 2010 mid-term, turnout was 52 percent.

“It depends on the people; you’ve got to have the interest in the races,” she told WFPL. “I think more people thought there would be more interest in the Senate race—other than that you didn’t really have a whole lot of contested races on the ballot.”

In 2010, Kentucky voters chose a U.S. senator (Rand Paul) and Louisvillians chose a new mayor (Greg Fischer).

Most Kentucky counties fell under the 40-to-50 percent voter turnout range throughout the state, according to the Kentucky Board of Elections.

Cumberland, Owsley and Magoffin counties were in the 60-70 percent range.

Stephen Voss, a political scientist at the University of Kentucky, said the low turnout is a direct result of the Kentucky residents’ discontent with both parties.

“We had fairly aggressive get-out-and-vote efforts,” Voss said. “The parties spent a lot of money to get the staff to the places where they had a lot of support and try to bring their supporters to the poll.

“I think (it) speaks to the overall dissatisfaction of a lot of Kentucky voters with the choices they had.”

Voss said the up-ticket race, like U.S. Senate in a non-presidential year, usually brings out voters who’ll cast ballots in other races. But not always.

“We know this because sometimes people will go and vote in the marquee race and they won’t even bother to vote in the others,” he said. “They roll off and stop after the high profile race.”