Grimes predicts turnout of 30 percent or less

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Associated Press

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Updated Friday, May 16 at 8:09 AM

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky's top election official expects less than 30 percent of registered voters will cast ballots in Tuesday's primary elections.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said history shows officials should expect at least 32 percent of those registered to vote on Tuesday. But fewer absentee ballots have been requested this year, most likely because there are no local option questions on the ballot.

Grimes said voters could be turned off by the influx of negative political ads.

"They are tired of the negativity that they see. I think in general there is a voter fatigue out there right now," Grimes said. "Our hope is that we will, especially with education, we will encourage everyone to get out and be an active, engaged citizen. With a record number of registrants in the commonwealth, our hope is we can rise above the prediction."

Grimes and Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell have been doing their own negative campaigning recently as they are locked in one of the closest and most-watched Senate elections in the country. Grimes did not take campaign questions from reporters on Tuesday she said because she was speaking on state time in her official capacity as Secretary of State.

More than 39,000 people voted absentee in Kentucky in 2010. So far this year, more than 21,000 people have voted absentee or had ballots mailed to them.

Grimes predicted a low turnout despite Kentucky having more people registered than ever before. Kentucky added 125,000 new voters before the April 21 registration deadline for Tuesday's primary.

Registered Democrats still outnumber registered Republicans in Kentucky, but Republicans have been closing the gap. But the fastest growing group of voters are those registering as "other," which includes independent and third party voters.

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