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Voter turnout was less than 12 percent in election

March 14, 2001

Voter turnout was less than 12 percent in election



By DAN KULIN

dank@herald-mail.com

Voter turnoutPhoto: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

A little more than 11 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the Hagerstown primary election Tuesday, according to unofficial totals released late in the day.

The turnout was far less than some had expected considering the high number of candidates on the ballots.

"I was so sure that by having more candidates there would be more people coming out and supporting them," said Ruth South, chairperson of the Hagerstown Board of Supervisors of Elections.

"Voters just aren't interested. It's sad," said South, who has headed the election board for the past 12 years.

Of the 15,454 registered Democrats and Republicans in Hagerstown, 1,710 voted Tuesday, according to figures from the Washington County Election Board.

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Democrats turned out in greater numbers than Republicans.

According to the figures, 1,033, or about 11.9 percent, of the 8,652 Democrats cast ballots Tuesday.

Meanwhile, 677, or less than 10 percent, of the 6,802 Republicans voted.

Still, this year's participation was higher than the 1997 primary election, when about 10.4 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.

But voter turnout this year was less than in the city primaries of 1981, 1985, 1989 and 1993.

This year's primary ballots listed 18 candidates - two Democratic mayoral candidates, seven Republican council candidates and nine Democratic council candidates. It was the largest field of candidates since 1981.

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