The big story of
the June 2 primary election in both Porter County and Duneland is the
precipitous drop in voter turnout from four years ago.
In 2016, fully 40
percent of all registered voters in the county cast ballots; 42 percent of
them did in Duneland.
This year, voter
turnout in Porter County plummeted to 26 percent; in Duneland, to 28
But thatís only
part of the story: Republicans and Democrats didnít tune out in equal
measure. In 2016, 53 percent of Porter County voters cast a Republican
ballot; while only 47 percent of Democrats did. On June 2, that ratio was
turned upside down: Republicans accounted for only 40 percent of the vote;
Democrats, 60 percent.
The raw numbers are
even more striking. In 2016, Republicans in the county pulled 26,402
ballots; on June 2, that number dropped by almost half, to 13,438 or 49
In 2016, Democrats
pulled 23,053 ballots; on June 2, that number dropped by only 13 percent, to
That trend was
duplicated on June 2 in Duneland, where Democrats out-voted Republicans in
26 out of 30 precincts, casting 1,624 more raw votes. In 2016 in Duneland,
Donald Trump and Ted Cruz took between them 5,803 votes, 170 more than the
5,633 taken by Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
To be sure, 2020
isnít 2016. Four years ago Cruz was the last man standing between Trump and
the nomination, in the days before the GOP capitulated to Trump. This year
Trump is running unopposed, but for the quixotic Bill Weld, Even so, there
was one local race which might have been expected to shivvy more Republicans
to the polls on June 2: Jeff Larsonís high-profile challenge of Porter
County Commissioner Jim Biggs.
And speaking of
Bill Weld: quixotic he may be, but Weld still stripped Trump of 940 votes in
Porter County, or 7 percent of the total; and 43,930 in the state, or 8
Consider this as
well: on June 2, Gov. Eric Holcomb, running unopposed for the Republican
nomination, out-polled Trump in raw votes, both in Duneland (3,142 votes to
Trumpís 2,991); and in Porter County (12,864 votes to Trumpís 12,161).
and Weld together combined for 537,781 votes, slightly more than Holcombís
527,673 votes. But in 2016, 996,740 voters cast ballots either for Trump or
Cruz, 28 percent more votes than the 778,165 garnered by Mike Pence, running
unopposed for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
thereís no way enough evidence to posit an enthusiasm deficit among
Republican voters in Duneland, Porter County, or Indiana. The postponement
of the primary election, the popularity of mail-in ballots, a fear of voting
in person in the midst of pandemic: any or all of these may have skewed
turnout in ways impossible to calculate and not to be repeated in the
general election on Nov. 3.
For the record:
-- The Duneland
precinct with the highest turnout rate: Westchester 3, with 37 percent
(bordered by 1100N, South Fifth Street, Union Ave. and Jefferson Ave., and
South Calumet Road)
-- The Duneland
precinct with the lowest turnout rate: Westchester 17, with 12 percent
(the sliver of the township which falls within the City of Portage.)
-- Jeff Larson
didnít do much better against Jim Biggs in Duneland than he did countywide:
Biggs took 58 percent of the votes in Duneland, compared to Larsonís 42
percent; and 60 percent countywide, to Larsonís 40 percent.