Despite a slight increase in voter turnout in this year’s municipal election compared to the 2015 election, turnout still remains low.

Mike Smith, a staff member at Tippecanoe County Election Board, pointed out that turnout is significantly lower than eight years ago.

“In 2015 we had 13.4% turnout," Smith said, "and we got to 15.2% (this year), so it's just up a little bit, like 1.8%, but that's way down. It's bottoming out. That's a trend down because even eight years ago, we were at 22%, and then before that (we were) in the 30's."

Robert X. Browning, a political science professor and the director of The Center for C-SPAN Scholarship & Engagement said the turnout was low for municipal elections across the nation.

"It's usually a little over 20%, and (Tippecanoe County) is on the lower end," Browning said.

Preliminary data from the Tippecanoe County Election Board show that 53,760 people were registered to vote in Tippecanoe County. Of those registered voters, 8,172 voted.

Julie Roush, secretary of the Tippecanoe County Election Board, noted that fewer citizens voted early this year compared to four years ago.

"It was about a 50% reduction in early voting this year than in 2015," Roush said.

Browning said student ID requirements may have had an impact.

"I think the perception that they had to do something extra may have had an effect," Browning said.

However, Roush pointed out that Purdue paid for 500 new student IDs ahead of the election.

Roush also pointed out that the real voter turnout numbers may be higher, due to the temporary nature of students.

"West Lafayette is incredibly skewed because the students are transients," Roush said. "Students leave all the time, and they don't remove their voter registration."

Browning also said that the lack of excitement in municipal elections contributes to low voter turnout.

"There's no controversy with the elections," Browning said. "There's nothing really that people could attach to."

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