Voter turnout low in Prince George's primary election
Participation is second lowest since 1992, when just 16 percent of voters showed
Keeping a trend that held across the state Tuesday, far fewer voters cast ballots in the primary election in Prince George's County than in the past, leaving many politicians scratching their heads.
Without counting absentee ballots and with less than 3 percent of polls still unreported, 87,954 Democrats had voted in Prince George's County as of Wednesday morning, about 12,000 fewer than average.
County primaries often draw between 103,000 and 106,000 Democrats to the polls, about 30 percent.
For Republicans, 7,378 voters showed up at polls this month, compared with 8,000 in the 2006 primary and about 10,000 in 2002.
Overall turnout among the county's 400,577 Democrats, 46,360 Republicans and 51,781 other voters was 19.8 percent, which is the second lowest level since 1992. In 1996, just 16 percent of voters cast ballots in an uncontested presidential primary.
Officials with the county board of elections could not be reached for comment this morning.
The mid-term primary election is a stark contrast to the 2008 general ballot, when there was a 75 percent turnout in the presidential election.
This year also featured early voting, in which 14,000 county residents voted over a six-day period and may have contributed to the quiet polls Tuesday.
"Anybody who was going to vote in the morning voted early," said County Councilman Eric Olson (D-Dist. 2) of College Park, one of numerous incumbents who won their primaries.
Across the county, poll workers and campaign volunteers occasionally outnumbered voters at polling sites.
"I don't know if it's early voting or what ... but it took us five-and-a-half-hours to get 100 votes," said Brentwood resident Gina Morland, the Democratic chief precinct judge at Brentwood Town Hall.
Morland said as of the 6 p.m. count, 223 votes had been cast out of 1,489 registered voters.