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For immediate release: Contact: Ben Kiser
Thursday, May 9, 2002 402-471-8675

Secretary Gale Predicts Low Voter Turnout for Primary Election on Tuesday

Lincoln - Secretary of State John Gale predicted turnout to be 24% of registered voters or (approximately) 256,000 in the May 14, 2002 primary election today during a speech to citizenship students at Lincoln Southeast High School.

"I am disappointed in this prediction, because it is so low. Since voter registration became mandatory in 1967 the total number of votes cast for a statewide primary election has not dropped below 300,000," said Secretary Gale. "But the level of absentee ballot requests, voter registration numbers, historical data and voter interest does not justify higher expectations. Fortunately, it is only a prediction and nothing would make me happier than for Nebraska voters to prove me wrong on Tuesday."

The number of registered voters for the May 14 primary election will be 1,070,235 a decline of 14,982 from the 2000 general election. Included in the total number of registered voters are 537,672 Republicans, 379,551 Democrats, 2,988 Libertarians, 284 Nebraska Party members, 26 Green Party members in the Second Congressional District and 149,714 non-partisan voters. The deadline to register to vote in the primary election was Friday, May 3.

"Regardless of the number of voters turning out on Tuesday more needs to be done to encourage voter participation in Nebraska and across the country. As Secretary of State, I will lead the effort to increase voter turnout."