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Low Turnout for Primary Election

Voters were trickling in at five primary locations in Columbia.

Only 39 voters had strolled into the polls at Harper's Choice Middle School by 11 a.m. on Maryland's primary election day. At Long Reach High School, one of the largest precincts in the city, the number was only marginally higher--127 voters as of 11 a.m.

Despite a loaded Board of Education field and a chance to participate in an ongoing Republican presidential primary, Maryland voters have not rushed to cast ballots in Tuesday's primary election.

"Turnout has been horrifyingly bad," said Mike Holt, an election judge posted at Long Reach High School.

At Longfellow Elementary School, 63 voters as of 12:37 p.m., judges were happy to get a break from a slow day to talk to a police officer and a reporter. The judges checked to see if the Howard County police officer, D.M. Vo, was allowed to be present in the voting room. He was, according to the election rule book.

Officer Vo was patrolling the precincts on the lookout for election fraud. He said there was nothing to report around noon.

At Wilde Lake High School, with 100 voters by 11 a.m., election judge John Myers said moving the primary from September to April may have confused voters and resulted in low turnout. In 2010, the primary took place on Sept. 14.

There was also the matter of many schools being out for spring break, and families gone on vacation.

On the bright side though, said Myers, with national general elections occurring later this year, "November will be totally different."

Juan April 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM
yeah thats weird. me and my brother voted for ron paul, as did many of my friends. and i saw the most ron paul signes and enthusiasm. yet they say he only got 12 % of the vote!? idk about that...
MG42 April 04, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I'm hoping Dr. Paul will run third party in November (not that that our votes will count anyway since MD will go solidly for Obama).
RhodaToback April 04, 2012 at 04:41 PM
When Patch Reporter Andrew Metcalf strolled into Harper's Choice Middle, followed by HCPD's Officer Vo, the 7:00 AM rush of five voters was long behind us. Although many indicated the Primary "needed to be better advertised." the day concluded with a count of 212 out of 1700 eligible voters.
Chris April 04, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I'm unaffiliated so all I could vote for was school board. Since I don't have any kids, I abstained.

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