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Low Voter Turnout Could Shake Things Up In The Primary Election

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— Will voters show up to cast their ballots for the primary election? There is growing concern that a very small number of people could determine some of the top jobs in Maryland, including nominations for governor.

Meghan McCorkell has more on predictions for voter turnout.

Analysts say voter turnout could potentially be at historic lows for this primary election.

Political ads dominate the airwaves. But are voters even paying attention?

McCorkell: “Did you even know the primary election is tomorrow?”

Woman: “I didn’t.”

A record low turnout is predicted for Tuesday’s primary.

“Everything’s so wishy washy this day. I don’t think it will really make a difference one way or the other,” said David Collins, who does not plan to vote.

More than 141,000 voters have already cast their ballots. That’s more than four percent of all registered voters.

“I just need a change. If you don’t vote then what can you say? You can’t complain. My vote counts,” said Vanessa Gordon, early voter.

Others are still making up their minds.

McCorkell: “Do you know who you’re voting for yet?”

“Not yet,” said Tasha Fletcher, voter.

McCorkell: “So you’re still undecided right until the last minute?”

“Right,” Fletcher said.

“These primary elections, particularly those that are not occurring at the same time as a national level election, are typically really lackluster,” said Mileah Kromer, Politics Center director at Goucher College.

In 2010, just 25 percent of voters went to the primary polls.

In 2012, only 19 percent voted.

If voters don’t turn out at polling places, analysts say we could see some surprises.

Kromer says low turnout could change the dynamics of the race.

“A really enthusiastic base could perhaps show up and perhaps knock off that number one, that primary contender,” Kromer said.

With a small number of votes, she says anything can happen.

More voters did turn out for early voting than in previous years. But consultants say that’s not an indication the overall turnout will be higher.

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