Voter turnout appears low for Primary

-A A +A
By John Barnhart

egistrars reported light turnout for Tuesday’s Republican primary.
    By 10 a.m. only 1.58 percent of Bedford County’s registered voters had turned out to cast ballots, according to Barbara Gunter, the county’s registrar. She said that Forest Elementary school had the largest voter turnout with 2.8 percent of that precinct’s voters turning out.
    Gunter believes that rain in the morning discouraged many early voters. Furthermore, some county precincts historically don’t get a large early bird turnout.
    “We have some areas where people don’t turn out until afternoon,” she said.
    Gunter predicted a 15 percent voter turnout by the end of the day.
    She is, however, expecting a large voter turnout for the November election and used Tuesday’s primary as an opportunity to train new election officials. She has 20 new people who completed training and these people were scattered about the county’s 29 precincts as extra workers. This gives them a chance to work with experienced poll workers before the big event in the fall. Gunter said that her office has training sessions for new poll workers before every election and having a few more workers for November would be helpful.
    “We are always recruiting poll workers,” she said.
    Tuesday was also a quiet day for the city’s two precincts.    
    “Not much happening,” was City Registrar Randi Herrick’s description of the day.
    Herrick said that the city had seen 1 percent of its registered voters show up by noon. She had been anticipating a low turnout.
    For that matter, there was a low turnout by representatives of the campaigns.
    “The candidates didn’t even have campaign signs out at our precincts,” she said. “We’ve had nobody handing out literature.”