Virginia sees expectedly low turnout for Primary Day

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by Mike Gooding, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 11 at 7:01 PM

NORFOLK--Voter turnout across Hampton Roads appeared to be extremely light on Primary Day, fulfilling political analysts’ pre-election predictions of under ten percent.

Six hours after the polls had opened at Norfolk’s Young Park Precinct, just 43 people had cast ballots, despite the fact there was a hotly contested City Commissioner of the Revenue Democratic primary underway. 

Some who voted were disappointed in their fellow citizens. “I do think more people should show up and vote because this is our privilege and this is what we need to do,” said Norfolk resident Elizabeth Lamb.

In Virginia Beach, a similar scene played out at the Woodstock precinct. Less than 160 people had voted by mid-day, even thought the precinct is home to more than 4,000 registered voters.

It is also home to the intensely waged battle between Republican Primary contestants in the 85th House District, Gary Byler, Scot Taylor and Jeremy Waters.

Beach voter Ethel Ward was disgusted. “It’s terrible, ridiculous,” she said, adding, “If they don’t vote now, what’s going to happen later?”

Although the candidate at the top of the ballot, Terry McAuliffe, is unopposed in his bid to become the Democratic Party nominee for Governor, there are several other contested races, including those for Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, the 90th State House seat, Norfolk Commissioner of the Revenue and Portsmouth Sheriff.

Old Dominion University Political Science professor Jesse Richman tells 13News part of the problem may be the frequency of the elections.

“In Virginia, I like to say, for people who like to vote, we give them so many opportunities,” Richman said. ”I think we sometimes wear people down a little bit. We always have a primary, we always have a state or federal election every year, so we really give people the opportunity to shape the preferences of those who govern them all the time. That can be a little trying. But it’s also a great opportunity.”
 

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