Local News

Low Turnout Predicted for Tuesday's Vote

Posted September 13, 1998

— You might not realize it but tomorrow is primary election day in the Tar Heel state.

A federal court ordered North Carolina's primaries rescheduled in order to redraw the 12th Congressional District.

Primaries historically tend to have lower turnout but will the Clinton scandal keep even more voters away from the polls?

Not according to state election officials. Gary Bartlett, the state elections director, says the Washington situation is "a great and timely excuse" to use but that is not what is driving non-voters, and he does not believe it will affect the turn-out.

What turn-out is he predicting? A mere nine percent, the lowest projection in many years.

In regard to Democrats and the Washington situation, Bartlett said it "certainly it will not drive Democrats to the polls, but it certainly is not driving them away."

Whatever the cause -- confusion about a September primary, apathy or the presidential situation -- turnout will be low. Requests for absentee ballots are one indicator elections officials use to peg their projections.

Deputy State Elections Director Johnnie McLean says absentee ballot requests have been extremely low.

She says requests have been "non-existent in some counties. One of our larger counties had fewer than 200 requests for absentee ballots. We are talking one of the more metropolitan areas, so while that is not the only indication we have, it is usually a good measuring stick."

Tuesday there will be nine primaries in the state: three Republican, six Democrat.

Any would-be voters who are confused about whether there is a local primary involving their party, or whether their district has been redrawn, should call their local county election office.

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