The Key to Winning a Low-Turnout Election - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

The Key to Winning a Low-Turnout Election


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The La Crosse City Clerk said Wednesday there are 36,828 registered voters in the City and she expects roughly 8,400 to turn out and vote in Tuesday's mayoral primary election. 

"I think we'll see between 20 and 25 percent next week," said clerk Teri Lehrke. 

Political Scientist Tim Dale said there are several reasons for the lack of enthusiasm. 

"It takes so much time to get information on the candidates that many voters would rather wait until the general election when they have clear choice between just two candidates," said Dale, a professor of political science at the UW-La Crosse. 

11 candidates are currently vying to finish in the top two of next week's race and qualify for April's general election. 

"We also have a lot of elections in this country," Dale said. "In Wisconsin, we've had even more with recall elections. The idea is that we have so many elections, voters will pick elections that matter to them," Dale said, citing the higher turnout the state saw during the November 2012 Presidential election. 

Dale said a small turnout and 11-candidate field is a double-edged sword for each of the men on the ballot. 

One the one hand, there is a small pool of voters to choose from and it's being split up 11 ways. 

But Dale added that because there are so many candidates, each one of them likely needs a lower percentage of the total vote to qualify for the second election. 

Dale said that's why the key to winning is a candidate turning out his base voters.
"In a low-turnout election, the reason it's low turnout, is you don't get undecided, non-committed voters voting," Dale said. "So really the only people voting are people who want a particular candidate to win."

"To win a low-turnout race, you need to get the people who want you to win to get out and vote," he said. 


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