WASHINGTON â€” All signs point to relatively low voter turnout this year, says a new report released as the major political parties are stepping up their efforts to reduce that trend for midterm elections.
Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, said he expects turnout on Tuesday will be as low or lower than it was in 1998, when 35.3 percent of the voting age population cast ballots. That was the lowest midterm turnout since 1942, he said.
"Two things could propel turnout to be higher â€” competitive races in major states and the economy,'' Gans said. But he said low primary turnout this year, combined with the drop in voter registration and polls showing little voter interest, suggest turnout will be low.
Turnout in the 38 states that held statewide primaries for both parties this year was 17.1 percent of voting age population. That was higher than 1998,...
On landing at the wharf, I could distinguish only one person in the crowd whom I had ever seen before. After a day or two, I set out for the town of Huntingdon, some 200 miles west. Four other passengers with whom I became acquainted on the ocean were going in the same direction, but to the then "Far West," in southern Ohio. Details of incidents in this part of my journey must not be inflicted on the reader's patience. One incident only may be mentioned. Five of us having engaged a public wagoner to haul our baggage to Huntingdon, and having paid him in advance, (as he affirmed was customary), when we reached Harrisburg, the team was seized for debt; we got our baggage, but we saw our teamster no more. Thus early were we swindled, not by a Yankee, but by a genuine son of Erin! About two weeks were occupied in reaching Huntingdon; there my companions and I separated and I never saw them afterward. Two of my father's brothers, William and Samuel, were among the early settlers of Huntingdon, and were merchants in that county-seat for half a century or more. I spent nine months with the former as storekeeper, meanwhile prosecuting my pleasant classical studies.
While there the younger of my two brothers [Stewart] who had six years before preceded me to America came fifty miles to see me. From him I learned that both had become citizens. He at once asked me to "file my intentions," etc. Being already not only a naturalized citizen but "a limb of the law," he urged the importance of speedy action on my part, and at once he would attend to the legal steps. This was my second great trial. I desired to know the nature of the oath to be taken by an alien. He immediately procured for me a copy of the Constitution. Wishing to act with deliberation, I succeeded in gaining time to examine the famous document, and we parted for the time. Some months afterward he visited me the second time, confident that I would be fully prepared for the initiatory steps toward citizenship. Our interview was substantially as follows:"Well, I presume you have read the Constitution." "Yes." "Well, what do you think of it?" "Of the greater part of it I think favorably." "Very well, you are now ready to file your declaration of intention" etc. "No, not yet." "Why, what objections can you have?" "I think I have discovered atheism and slavery in this document," as I held it my hand. "But you do not swear to perpetuate these: the Constitution provides for its own amendment." "So I perceive; but I must swear to the document as it is, not to future amendments." He expatiated on the advantages of political influence, lamented and extenuated my scruples, and continued to press the subject "till I was ashamed." At length I closed the discussion by saying with deep emotion: "Brother Stewart, I have resolved that by divine grace, and while I have the use of my reason, I will never swear that oath." We lived in amity thirty-seven years till his death, but he never again proposed to resume discussion of that question. And here with grief I mention, that like too many other Covenanters, these two brothers who had alternately led in our family worship in my boyhood, left this part of their religion in Ireland and forsook the Covenanted Testimony.
The third paragraph says that the primaries this year had the lowest turnout "this century." Let's see, 2001, 2002. Wow! The lowest turnout in two whole years! (Or perhaps the writer isn't aware of what time it is).