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Voter turnout is average

March 07, 2000|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY and JULIE E. GREENEs

Lifelong Republican Judy Bauroth thought the race between George W. Bush and John McCain would bring more people out to the polls Tuesday.

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She was surprised when she found few people voting at Lincolnshire Elementary School on Tuesday morning.

"Evidently, they're not interested in voting," said Bauroth, 61, of Halfway, who said she voted for Bush because "he better represents the conservative values."

Primary elections don't usually draw voters in large numbers, though elections with local races seem to attract a few more people, said Dorothy Kaetzel, election director for the Washington County Election Board.

A total of 20,874 ballots, representing 29.8 percent of registered voters, were cast at Washington County polling places Tuesday, according to the Election Board.

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That's about average for a presidential year primary, Kaetzel said.

Turnout was 28.8 percent for the Democratic primary and 30.6 percent for the Republican primary.

The 41.4 percent turnout for the 1992 primary was unusually high, she said.

Turnout was 26.9 percent in 1996, even with a School Board race, Kaetzel said.

Halfway resident Nancy Butler said she voted on Tuesday out of habit, but also because she was concerned about the race for the Republican nomination for president.

Butler, 53, said she voted for McCain because he is a veteran.

"I don't think Bush is the man his father was, is," she said.

Edna and James Roby, of Downsville, said they voted out of habit and because there was a presidential race.

Edna M. Roby, 61, a Republican, said she didn't think the Republican race was that tight and that Bush would win the nomination.

Her husband, a Democrat, voted for Al Gore because he is a Vietnam veteran and has White House experience.

"He's true to what he says," said James Roby, 80.

Ed Dorsey, 36, of Hagerstown, said he wanted the option of being able to vote for either party in the primary, but as a registered Democrat he could only vote in the Democratic primary and voted for Bill Bradley.

If given the opportunity, Dorsey said he would have voted for McCain.

"I like his attitude," Dorsey said. McCain appears down-to-earth and focused on the issues, he said.

On Tuesday morning some Washington County poll workers noted the strong Republican turnout by pointing to the high number of pink voter slips versus the white ones for the Democrats.

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