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According to data from the Alabama Secretary of State's office, the voter turnout for the May 24 party primary elections was an abysmal 23%. The turnout for the June 21 party primary runoff elections was an even more disappointing 13%.
Those low numbers are despite record spending by the U.S. Senate campaigns on the Republican ticket during this election cycle.
Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl argued it was partly due to the negative campaigning and a lack of media coverage for the contests from the top to the bottom of the ballot.
Wahl told Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show" he was not sure what the party could do about it, however.
"That was probably the most disappointing thing this cycle, was just the voter turnout, the voter turnout numbers," Wahl said. "When I looked at it, I think I saw several things happen. One, I think the negative campaigning is really suppressing votes in the primary. I don't know what the party can do about that. I know personally, I like the candidate to talk about what they believe in, what they're going to do and not just go after their opponent. So, I think definitely that played a role in turnout.
"I also think that I've seen recently the mainstream media, whether that be national or local press, have stopped paying as much attention to local elections. You almost never see people talking about their local statehouse – the media about the State House or State Senate. I think that has created a disconnect between the public and our local elected officials' elections. Not everybody realizes how important their local races are because there is very little coverage of it. I would like to see that change. I would love to see media and press in general getting involved in the local election process – not just the big races but all the way through because a lot of times people feel like one vote can't make a difference."
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com.
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