Although many were eligible to vote, few actually turned out. Voter turnout for Tuesday's primary was way down, according to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections.
"We got a 5 percent voter turnout," Democrat Elections Commissioner Norman Green said.
In Tuesday's elections, 1,587 voters turned out for the Congressional primary and 1,284 voted for Senate candidates. In Chautauqua County, there are 47,000 voters registered as Democrats or Republicans.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Aida Gonzalez casts her ballot Tuesday at the incubator in Dunkirk.
As this was the first primary since the 1950s held in June, voter turnout was expected to be low. Low turnout was also due to candidates who were not very active in this area.
"All of these candidates were very low profile, not very well known and had low energy (campaigns)," Green said.
The reasoning behind the June primary was due to the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act requires that ballots be available for those in the service and living out of country 45 days before a primary. Due to nominating conventions, ballots would not be available the required 45 days prior to the November elections scheduling the Congressional primary earlier.
According to a Business First article, New York state ranks fifth from the bottom for voter participation. Green said it was not a surprising statistic.
"It's not necessarily surprising. This November we will get a 70 to 75 percent voter turnout in Chautauqua County. The biggest problem locally is a lack of candidates and a good healthy two-party system," Green said. "I hear that across the state and if you do not have a healthy two-party system then obviously people aren't turning out to vote."
Tuesday's primary was the second of three primaries this year. The first primary was the presidential primary in April. The final primary will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13 for state and local elections. Since the date is on a Thursday, Green says voter turnout may be low as well.
"I wish the state would have asked to allow the September primary to be allowed today," Green said.
According to Green, to host an additional primary is estimated to cost $50 million statewide. Sending out the state ballot and the federal ballot will also be an additional cost since they will be mailed out at different times.
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