There are fewer uncontested races for General Assembly seats this year than in any election year since 1998, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz announced Monday.

Only 28.9 percent of the races are uncontested this year, which is the lowest ratio since 1998 when 26.7 percent of the races were unchallenged. Only 54 of 187 races for state Senate or House lack either a Democratic or Republican candidate this year as compared with 60 total unchallenged contests in 2008 – a decrease of 10 percent

“This decline in uncontested General Assembly races means more Connecticut citizens are interested in the electoral process and running for office,” said Bysiewicz. “Although some legislative districts still lack competition, I am very encouraged by these numbers and I am proud of those Connecticut citizens who have decided to get involved in the political process.”

The most dramatic decline in uncontested races can be seen in elections for the state House of Representatives. In 2006, 62 races for House seats lacked a major party candidate, while in 2008, 53 races remained uncontested.  In, 2010, 48 races are uncontested.

In 2008 public financing for General Assembly candidates became available for the first time.

“One factor that appears to be encouraging more candidates to run for office is the Citizen’s Election Program and the availability of public campaign funds,” Bysiewicz said.

More legislative races, also means more primaries. Late last week Bysiewicz announced that at least 44 primaries will be held Aug. 10. However, it’s expected many more primaries will be held since Bysiewicz’s office only handles candidates representing multiple towns.

The list of 44 primaries does not include local primaries for offices such as Registrar of Voters or General Assembly districts within one town.

Click here to see the partial list.