The state broke a record for ballots cast in last week’s primary. But Texas still fared poorly among other the 12 states that have held primaries, coming in second to only Louisiana in the country’s lowest voter turnout so far. Our weak showing was primarily because Democrats didn’t really go to the polls – just 7.2 percent of registered Democrats voted. Places like El Paso – a Democratic stronghold – had a remarkably low turnout.

Why is it that whenever there’s an opportunity for Democrats to take a stand in Texas – turnout among Democrats fails to meet expectations?

Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, says the high turnouts in New England paled by comparison to Texas.

“The Sanders campaign didn’t mount a vigorous challenge to Hillary Clinton,” he says, “in part because the Sanders people believed Hillary pretty much had Texas locked up.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How the Democratic race compared to the Republican vote, in terms of voters’ sense of urgency

– What drives turnout at the county and local levels in Democratic and Republican primaries

– Why Democrats don’t try to compete for statewide seats and what tampers down competition within the party for local seats

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  • Rey March 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    (As you hit the snooze button again. )

  • Rey March 9, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    The reason for low voter turnout for Democrats is because our bosses don’t pay you if you miss work. No show no pay. Polls are opened 7a-7p
    Which means low paying jobs in construction for one takes up your time in commuting and if you can’t afford a vehicle then your ride goes w/o you. You are penalized to vote. Unlike higher paying jobs with benefits where you can take half a day off, drive your own car, have a sit down breakfast made by low income workers that were at work as they hit the snooze button again. So, poli-sci Prof…what say you?

    • Laura Rice March 10, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Great point, Rey!

  • Belinda Wilson March 9, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    How is turnout calculated for this article? Since we do not register a party preference when registering to vote in Texas, what does “7.2% of registered Democrats” mean?