Low Voter Turnout Will Make or Break Primary Runoffs

Texas' primary runoffs are just weeks away, yet even fewer registered voters are expected to participate than the 10 percent who went to the polls in March.

Bill Miller of HillCo Partners, an Austin-based consulting firm, says having a smaller turnout has become part of the strategy for some candidates.

“The operative principle in elections now is keep it small, keep it all,” he says.  “If you have a small voter turnout and you control that turnout, you can almost be assured that you're going to be successful.”

But Harris County Republican Party spokesman Vlad Davidiuk disagrees, he says down ballot races just aren't sexy.

“Some of these elections just simply aren't as on the radar, they aren't as exciting or high-profile, so they tend to generate smaller turnout,” says Davidiuk.  “Voters are going to be engaged in the voting process, in the election process, based primarily on their interest and their awareness of the election.”

That smaller turnout can have a lasting legacy at any level of government.

“Let's says it's seven percent, that means that four percent of registered voters are going to pick that person, and that means 96 percent of people are not participating,” says Miller.  “If you look at it from that standpoint, that crazy.  It's bad, bad for everyone.”

Tuesday is the last day of early voting for Saturday’s special election to replace the late Houston city councilman Larry Green.

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