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."