All News & Blogs
Tuesday's primary brings more money than voter interest
Tuesday's Democratic gubernatorial primary appears to be generating more campaign money than voter interest.
State Sen. Creigh Deeds, former Del. Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, have spent nearly $9 million on their campaigns, according to finance reports filed with the state and compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.
Despite the spending, area registrars' offices are expecting a low turnout.
"Unless one of our candidates creates a spark, which we haven't seen that happen, then I don't expect a big turnout," Stafford registrar Sharon R. Persinger said.
Persinger expects less than 3 percent of the 74,000 registered Stafford voters to turn out.
Registrars in the Fredericksburg area anticipate turnouts ranging from 2 percent to 5 percent.
Many registrars are using absentee ballots as a way to estimate next Tuesday's turnout. Some offices have received only eight ballots so far. The average number of absentee ballots received in the area as of this week is 19.
"If absentee turnout is any reflection, we've told our [precinct] officials to take a good book," Persinger said.
Fredericksburg registrar Juanita D. Pitchford said her office at 601 Caroline St. has received 56 absentee ballots as of this week.
"That's about right for this type of election," Pitchford said.
Virginia has a history of low voter turnout in non-presidential primaries. In the 2006 Democratic senatorial primary, the voter turnout was 3.95 percent statewide. Locally, turnout rates in the region were about the same, ranging between 1.73 and 4.86 percent, according to the State Board of Elections Web site.
Persinger is disappointed at that.
"It's a real downer for us in the office. It's just sad that Americans are so complacent about voting," Persinger said.