What's Behind Low Voter Turnout?
Participation in Tuesday's election was particularly low—even for a primary.
Primary election turnout is traditionally much lower than that of general elections, and Elkridge was no exception.
“I’ve been doing this since 1996, and this is the slowest I’ve ever seen it,” said Bob Hibbert-R, chief election judge at St. Augustine School. Hibbert said early voting may have played a part.
Election officials and campaigners alike pinned low turnout in Howard County—18.93 percent for the 2012 primary versus 43.9 percent of registered voters in the 2008 primary—on timing.
Maryland’s 2008 presidential primary was held in February. Previous primaries were held in March.
The early April date, and the fact that it coincided with spring break in Howard County, led to lower turnout, some opined.
"Perhaps the primary should be in September when people are more focused on the general election," suggested Stephen Feldman on Patch.
Election fatigue due to a protracted presidential primary season could have played a role, as could congressional redistricting.
Hibbert and fellow Chief Election Judge Dan Durholz-D said that one voter came to St. Augustine only to discover his precinct changed due to congressional redistricting, so they advised him where his new polling place was.
One Montgomery County voter said Tuesday that lack of participation didn't have much to do with location or timing, stating: “People are just turned off."
Did you vote? Why do you think turnout was so low? Tell us in the comments.