Clerk: Voter turnout low for primary election


Voter turnout for this year’s municipal primary election was low, which was expected.

Since there weren’t many contested races on the ballot, the overwhelming majority of voters chose not to cast a ballot.

Overall, 1,135 people voted in the election. That is 9.12% of the 12,444 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in this primary. In 2015 in the last municipal primary, 1,622 of the 11,664 voters eligible cast a ballot, or 13.91%.

Dubois County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock said the turnout was low in many of the other counties she checked with, so Dubois County is not alone.

The only contested races in the county were for the Democratic nomination for the at-large Ferdinand Town Council seat and the Republican nominations for District 3 and District 6 Jasper Common Council seats. Other than that, voters casted votes for people who already have their party’s nomination; many of those will face competition in the Nov. 5 general election.

Some of the more interesting circumstances lie within one contested race and one non-race.

Within Jasper’s District 3, although Chad Lueken won the nomination overall, Merrill Osterman actually bested Lueken in two of the three voting precincts.

Osterman won the Bainbridge 3W precinct by a slight margin, 84 votes to Lueken’s 82 votes, and Madison-Jasper North precinct with 23 votes to Lueken’s 7 voter. Lueken, however, won the Bainbridge 3E precinct by a large margin, 95 votes to Osterman’s 36 votes.

The other oddity is the fact that 80 people voted for Marvin Belcher. He is the Democrat that was planning to run for Jasper mayor, but he backed out of the race in late March. However, it was well past the Feb. 11 deadline to officially withdraw from the ballot. Therefore, his name was still listed as a candidate. Of those 80 votes, three were cast as walk-in absentee ballots, which is the early voting that was available a month before the May 7 Primary Election Day.

As for the other contested races, Kevin Manley won all three precincts in the District 6 Jasper council race. In Bainbridge 6N, he received 34 votes, to Ryan Schuetter’s 22 votes. In Bainbridge 6S, Manley got 62 votes; Schuetter received 32. And in Boone-Jasper, Manley received the only two votes cast in the race.

In Ferdinand, Ron Weyer bested Steven Pancake in the two voting precincts. In Ferdinand 1, Weyer received 119 votes, to Pancake’s 14 votes. And in Ferdinand 2, he received 41 votes; Pancake received 18 votes.

Precincts with the biggest turnouts were in precincts that had a contest.

The precincts that had the largest voter turnout numbers were Bainbridge 3W at 179 voters, Bainbridge 3E at 159 voters, Ferdinand 1 at 140 voters, Bainbridge 6S at 123 voters and Bainbridge 2W at 108 voters. Turnout in the other precincts were less that 100 people.

The precincts that had the biggest percentages for turnout were Bainbridge 3W at 17.13%, Ferdinand 1 at 15.30%, Bainbridge 3E at 14.74% and Bainbridge 6S at 11.76%.

All other precincts’ percentages were less than 10%.

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