Voter Turnout: How Low Can it Go?

You may not realize it, but tomorrow is Election Day in Harris County. The run-off elections for both the Democratic and Republican primaries are flying under the radar and are expected to draw very few people to the polls. Laurie Johnson reports.

There are a handful of races that were not decided in the March 2nd primaries. Fewer than 300,000 people showed up for that election and Hector DeLeon with the Harris County District Clerk's Office says probably a third as many will vote this time.

"Usually the most committed of voters on both sides of the political spectrums are the ones that actually participate. You may have from half of the voters that voted last time to maybe just a handful of voters. We are not sure what is going to happen as far as the total number of voters, but we do know the vote is going to be very, very low."

Every registered voter in Harris County is eligible to vote in the run-off, even if you didn't vote in the March primary.
Of course, if you did vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary, you are only allowed to vote in the
same party's run-off election. Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Gerry Birnberg says there aren't enough high profile run-off races on the ballot to draw people to the polls.

"There's no question that these elections will be determined by the real core activists, the people who participate regularly, who have a great understanding of the importance of judicial races, who have made it their business to learn the difference between the candidates."

About 51,000 people voted during the early voting period last week. Another 50,000 are expected to show up at the polls. There will be less than 80 polls open for each primary. Many precincts are consolidated into one voting location. You can find a link for precinct information at harrisvotes.com/ .

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...