Low Voter Turnout Likely on Primary Election Day in Minnesota

Updated: 08/05/2014 7:13 AM
Created: 08/04/2014 6:24 PM
By: Tom Hauser

Minnesota hasn't discovered the magic formula for scheduling primary election days.  The last time primary turnout surpassed 30 percent was in 1982. In 2014, many political observers predict a 9-10 percent turnout.

"This is one of the sleepiest primary elections I can remember in years," Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute said.

Even a rare, closely-contested GOP primary for governor isn't ginning up much interest in an August primary. At this point in the summer, people are more focused on pontoons than polling places. With just a week to go until the primary, Scott Honour was the only candidate with a significant public campaign event on Monday. 

Honour and his running mate, Karin Housley, released a plan to attract businesses and jobs to Minnesota. It calls for lowering individual income taxes and business taxes, taking minimum wage increases off "auto pilot" and scrapping MNsure. 

"This is a lot more than not raising taxes," Honour said at a State Capitol news conference. "Not only is it not raising taxes, we're going to lower taxes and reduce spending."

No GOP candidate for governor is waging a significant TV ad campaign. Jacobs says it's likely they're quietly targeting "the relatively small number of Republicans who are actually going to show up and vote in the primary."

The primary elections will be held Tuesday, Aug. 12. The record-low primary turnout is 7.73 percent in 2004, just below the 9-10 percent predictions for 2014.

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