Declining voter turnout
Year - Reg. voters - Votes cast - Turnout %2016 - 186384 - 29100 - 15.62014 - 206044 - 53694 - 26.062012 - 216003 - 50562 - 23.412010 - 207961 - 51805 - 24.912008 - 190150 - 30414 - 15.92006 - 182250 - 50968 - 27.972004 - 171899 - 31378 - 18.22002 - 159859 - 47957 - 302000 - 178677 - 28674 - 16.51998 - 175328 - 53089 - 30.281996 - 161700 - 35915 - 22.211994 - 136345 - 56515 - 41.45
Hamilton County general and Tennessee primary election stories
- Greeson: Back to school means we need to get back to what's important
- Sohn: Don't take your vote for granted
- Anti-incumbent fever fails to take hold in Tennessee primaries
- Greeson: Sadly, moral indignation did not lead to civil obligation
- Voter turnout plummets for Hamilton County, state elections
- Sohn: When our voter turnout equals voter flame-out
- Cooper: Mayor Andy Berke's election 'results' mixed
- McCormick effort to call special House session to oust Durham fails to get 66 signatures
- Six Tennessee House primaries decided by fewer than 100 votes
- Kustoff takes aim at House seat after winning GOP primary
- Sohn: Voters looked for change in local races
- Cooper: Hamilton County voters want board accountability
- Voters oust three of four incumbents from Hamilton County school board
- Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Melody Shekari win big in U.S. House primaries
- Rep. Scott DesJarlais turns back tough challenge from Grant Starrett
- Incumbent Rhonda Thurman wins District 1 Hamilton County school board race
- Kathy Lennon beats Jonathan Welch for Hamilton County's District 2 school board seat
- Tiffanie Robinson unseats George Ricks from school board in District 4
- Joe Wingate bumps Donna Horn from District 7 school board seat
- Marty Haynes defeats Mark Siedlecki in Hamilton County assessor race
- Khristy Wilkinson is Democratic choice to face Todd Gardenhire for state Senate seat
- JoAnne Favors wins landslide primary victory in 28th District race
- Rep. Mike Carter trounces his Republican primary rival in state House District 29 race
- Election briefs: Incumbents hold Lookout commission seats
- Durham loses GOP primary after sexual harassment allegations
- Kustoff wins GOP nomination in open Tennessee U.S. House race
- Coverage of Tennessee Primary and Hamilton County general elections
- Where to vote in the Hamilton County general and Tennessee primary elections
- Times endorsements for Hamilton County general, Tennessee primary elections
- Free Press endorsements for Hamilton County general, Tennessee primary elections
- Congressional, legislative races are focus of Tennessee primary
- Tennessee voters go to the poll to decide on U.S. House nominees
It's funny what looking at Hamilton County voting patterns over 24 years can show you.
Funny, that is, if you want to cry.
In the August 1994 election, Hamilton County boasted 136,345 registered voters, and 56,515 of them cast ballots for a 41.45 percent turnout rate.
Since then, in terms of voter turnout, it has pretty much all been downhill - despite the fact that with the exception of just a couple of years, our registered voter numbers have steadily climbed.
For instance, by the year 2000, Hamilton County boasted 178,677 registered voters, according to state election archives. Yet only 28,674 voted in that August election, giving us a turnout rate of 16.5 percent.
The next year, however, was marked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in 2002 Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist was barred from serving a third term so would-be governors covered the page on both the Republican and Democratic state primary ballots. In all, voting was suddenly more pertinent, so despite a nearly 20,000 drop in the number of registered voters, 47,957 people went to the polls, giving us a turnout rate that year of 30 percent.
Our next apathy low was 2008: We had 190,150 voters, but only 30,414 exercised their right to vote in the August primary. Turnout was 15.9 percent.
By 2014, things were looking up. We had 206,044 registered voters (down from our high of 216,003 in 2012), and 53,694 voted. Turnout was 26 percent.
So explain this year.
Again, registered voters plummeted: 186,384. And a scant 29,100 voted. Turnout again fell - this time to our lowest rate in 24 years: 15.6 percent.
Think about that. Our lowest August election turnout in almost a quarter of a century - in a year when there were partisan primaries in state legislative races and a congressional race, along with four seats on an embattled school board and competition for a county tax assessor's seat that was open for the first time in more than 20 years.
Can we blame political fatigue because the upcoming battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in November has sucked all of the air from the planet?
Does the fault lie in civic-duty ignorance because elections aren't held on Facebook or Twitter?
Is it because of a continuing assault on voting rights that makes it harder and harder, not easier and easier, to vote?
Might it be just plain apathy?
Perhaps it is all of the above.
But whatever it is - shame on us.