Clerk: ‘Perfect storm’ led to low voter turnout
Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver says a “perfect storm” of factors including the holiday weekend and negative advertising is to blame for the “dismal” turnout in today’s Democratic and Republican primaries.
As of 2 p.m., Election Day turnout in Bernalillo County today was a combined 3.24 percent in both parties’ primaries. Toulouse Oliver described that as “dismal.”
In primaries, she said, you’re already starting with lower turnout than a general election because historically the races draw primarily the “party faithful.” This election, however, comes a day after the Memorial Day holiday weekend. That created some practical problems – some poll workers quit at the last minute, and others got a late start in opening polling places.
Toulouse Oliver said the holiday weekend probably also led to some people forgetting that today is Election Day.
In addition, the Democrats don’t have a competitive race at the top of the ticket to attract voters. The Republicans’ top-of-the-ticket gubernatorial race has been characterized in the last couple of weeks by negative advertising, which Toulouse Oliver said might also lead to lower voter turnout.
“All of that, I think, creates the perfect storm for low voter turnout,” she said.
Of course, there’s always an increase in turnout after people get off work around 5 p.m.
“We will get a rush at the polls,” Toulouse Oliver said. “How heavy it is, of course, is the wild card.”
Some 15.29 percent of Republicans and 8.6 percent of Democrats voted early and absentee in Bernalillo County as of Saturday.
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