Local Turnout For GOP Presidential Primary Even Lower Than Expected
The fact that Tuesday was a presidential primary day was lost on most New Yorkers and turnout at the polls was even lower than usual. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
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The only thing missing from most polling places Tuesday were the tumbleweeds. To describe turnout as a trickle would be generous and even voters in the New York State Republican presidential primary were themselves caught off-guard.
"I was surprised to see there was no one in there except me and everyone was asleep at the desks," said a voter on the Upper East Side. "But I think because it is a done deal--they think, you know, definitely Romney has it."
Many voters who did turn out spoke of a sense of civic duty, even if Mitt Romney's inevitable march to the presidential nomination kept many Republicans home and meant their own votes would likely have little impact.
"I think it's symbolic. Obviously, the numbers say that. But still, it's important to get out and cast your vote, no matter who you're for. I think it's the American way," said a voter in Eltingville, Staten Island.
"I think everybody who has a right to vote should be voting today," said another.
Other Republicans may have sat out the primary as a sort of protest, unhappy with their choices.
"Among Republican friends of mine, everybody is dissatisfied with the slate and they wish somebody would jump in to save it," said a Manhattanite. "They're probably staying home."
Perhaps the best explanation for Tuesday's low turnout is the simplest: in an election only for Republicans, in a city where they are outnumbered by Democrats more than 6-1, the pool of possible voters was a shallow one.
"Let's face it. New York doesn't have a lot of Republicans to begin with," said a Manhattan voter.
Officials estimated the primary cost the state upwards of $20 million to administer, but it is not the only election this year that figures to be low turnout. There's a congressional primary in June and a state legislative primary in September before voters go to the polls for the general election in November.