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Record Low Voter Turnout In Baltimore’s Mayoral Primary

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A big headline from the election– record low voter turnout!

Adam May has a look at why it may have happened.

Voter turnout was a disappointing 23 percent, the lowest in Baltimore’s modern history.

When Gov. Martin O’Malley showed up to vote in Tuesday’s city primary, he was the only one at his polling place. Turnout was just 74,000 people, less than a quarter of eligible voters showed up.

Reporter: “Why didn’t you vote?”
Baltimore Resident: “Too busy at work, and I have a baby on the way.”

“I didn’t know where my polling place was,” another resident said.

Reporter: “Did you vote?”
Resident: “No.”
Reporter: “Why?”
Resident: “Everybody that was running, I didn’t feel was a good candidate.”
Reporter: “You don’t like them?”
Resident: “No.”

“No single candidate emerged from the pack for a head-to-head confrontation with the mayor,” said Johns Hopkins political expert Matthew Crenson.

Crenson says the track record of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also played a role.

“She hasn’t done anything dramatic, controversial, or anything to arouse people to vote against her,” he explained. “That’s smart politicking.”

Those who did vote are frustrated by the apathy of their neighbors.

“People complain all the time about things not getting done, then they don’t vote,” one voter said.

“The city is the cultural center of the state, and the rest of the state, it’s their problem, too,” another voter explained. “It’s not only our problem.”

Reporter: “You think residents should take this issue of elections more seriously?”
Voter: “No question about it. When they show they don’t care, what’s next?”

“I think people are more concerned about their own lives and the economy than the broader issue of politics,” a Baltimore voter said.

The mayor says she’s concerned about the low turnout, and that she is looking for ways to improve it before the next election.

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