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Turnout lower than expected for primary election

April 03, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Peggy Mothershed, 10, helps her mom, Hope Mothershed, cast her vote Tuesday evening at Maugansville Elementary School. Answering Hope's questions is Voting Unit Judge Jay Stouffer.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

WASHINGTON COUNTY — The head of the county election board had predicted up to a 40 percent voter turnout in Washington County in Tuesday’s primary elections, but with light activity at polls during the day, she lowered that prediction to 20 to 25 percent by Tuesday night.

With only seven of the county’s 54 precincts reporting as of about 9:15 p.m., Kaye E. Robucci, director of the Washington County Board of Elections, could only offer a rough estimate of voter turnout.

Robucci said she based her 20 percent to 25 percent turnout prediction on the fact that voting was light at polls in the early part of the day.

“Usually, we have people lined up at the door, and it just wasn’t there,” Robucci said. “It was a beautiful day; no reason not to vote.”

Voting picked up a little at lunch time, then election officials were hopeful that more voters would turn out around dinner time.

But it didn’t happen, according to Robucci.

Voter turnout in Washington County during the 2008 presidential primary election was 34.8 percent.

Washington County has 84,312 active registered voters, including 30,977 Democrats and 37,462 Republicans.

Voters were casting votes for a Republican presidential nominee, Maryland’s 6th Congressional District seat, one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, and delegates to the Democratic and Republican party conventions. City residents also were also voting for mayor and the Hagerstown City Council.

Robucci said Tuesday night that she was unaware of any reports of voting problems at the polls.

She said 1,384 voters cast ballots in early voting compared with 833 voters in 2010. Early voting was counted in last night’s tally.

The election board issued 381 absentee ballots to Democrats and 486 to Republicans for Tuesday's primary. As of Tuesday evening, the board had received  at least 319 Democratic absentee ballots and 412 Republican absentee ballots.

Absentee ballots that are mailed had to be postmarked no later than Election Day, Robucci said.

Absentee ballots could also be hand-delivered to the election office at 35 W. Washington St., Room 101, no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day, she said.

A first set of absentee ballots will be canvassed on Thursday at 10 a.m., and a second set — those received after the first count — will be canvassed April 13 at 10 a.m., Robucci said.

Provisional ballots will be canvassed April 11, she said.

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