Voter Turnout Down Sharply in Providence and Rhode Island in 2014

 Twitter:  @markcurtisABC6  

The voting totals are in, but the numbers are downright shocking.

Despite having more high profile races and ballot measures than 2010, voter turn out was down in Rhode Island – from 49 to just 44 percent.

Experts blame a deluge of negative ads, and candidates, that the public found uninspiring.

“A vote in this year’s election was a matter of possibly voting for a lesser of two evils for a lot of people. I think the vote that Healey got was reflective of a lot of people voting – not  so much for Healey – but for none of the above,” said Dr. Kay Israel, a Professor of Political Communication at Rhode Island

In fact, Moderate Party candidate for Governor Bob Healey spent just $36 dollars on his race, but took home 22 percent of the vote.

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “Now here’s another interesting fact.  Allan Fung actually won most of the cities and towns in Rhode Island this year, but Gina Raimondo’s margin of victory here in Providence was enough to offset his lead.”

Another interesting twist, 16 percent of Rhode Island voters used the so–called master lever – straight–party voting – which is outlawed after this year.

Of those votes, seven-thousand went to the Moderate Party, even though in most places, it had only a couple candidates on the ballot.

“Yes, I thought that was interesting. And I think that’s absolutely a protest vote, and I think it’s probably evidence that it was,” said Dr. Valerie Endress, a Professor of Political Communication at Rhode Island College.

In all 328 thousand Rhode Islanders voted this year; that’s a seven percent drop from 2010.