Voter turnout low in primary election

Tuesday’s primary election in West Virginia was among the most interesting and important in recent memory. Yet fewer than one-fourth of registered voters bothered to cast ballots.

It will take a few days for official results of the election to be reported. Initial indications are that only about 315,000 people voted, however. That amounts to less than 26 percent of the number registered to vote.

In our region, the voter turnout percentages ranged from a low of 30.37 in Barbour County to a high of 42.30 percent in Grant County.

The other voter turnout percentages in our coverage area were 31.65 in Hardy County, 32.39 in Randolph County, 34.71 in Pocahontas County, 35.26 in Tucker County and 36.62 in Upshur County.

One factor in the election, Republican and Democrat nominations for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., should have been enough to get many voters to the polls.

In addition, most if not all counties held nonpartisan board of education elections. Winners on Tuesday will take office July 1. They will have more authority over how well our public schools are run than anyone else on the ballot.

Various theories have been advanced in attempts to explain low voter turnout for many years. One is that many Americans are so frustrated with government that they see no advantage in voting. As President Donald Trump’s election in 2016 demonstrates, those unhappy with how things are can have an impact, however.

Our worry is that too many people just do not care enough about government at any level to participate in the process of selecting local, state and national leaders. If so, that does not bode well for our form of government. It depends on citizen involvement.

Here’s hoping, then, that there is an improvement in the November election.