Lack of Competition, 'Apathy' Make for Low Voter Turnout
'They pay us so much to be here, and we're not doing anything.' - St. Gabriel's poll worker
Poll workers from around Baldwin-Whitehall have often been left bored today by low voter turnout for the April 24 primary election.
The Baldwin Borough Municipal Complex in the northern part of that municipality seemed like a ghost town at times with no campaign signs planted in the ground there at around 3:45 p.m. And seats lined up to control crowd flow were empty.
"Voter apathy" was the way that one poll worker at the municipal complex described the scene, saying that he doesn't expect traffic to pick up any more today, even after most voters finish their workdays.
Another worker at the complex attributed the low voter turnout to a lack of competition for many local races, as well as the national race for the U.S. presidency. He said that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum dropping out of the contest for the Republican Party's presidential nomination is hurting traffic at polling places throughout the state.
The worker, who reported less than 10 percent of voter turnout for his precinct, does expect interest to be up in November when Republican Mitt Romney is expected to face Democratic President Barack Obama in a general election.
Oddly enough, the biggest race of interest at the Baldwin municipal complex seemed to be the Democratic competition for state attorney general. That race is between Kathleen Kane, Patrick Murphy and Don Bailey.
Poll workers at St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin Parish in Whitehall Borough agreed with the lack of a competitive presidential race harming overall interest. But despite Romney being the heavy favorite to win his party's nomination, a young man came through St. Gabriel's just before the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch arrived there at around 3 p.m. wearing a Ron Paul for President T-shirt.
Still, traffic there was less than desirable.
"They pay us so much to be here," one poll worker said, "and we're not doing anything."
A worker at the Baldwin Township Municipal Building called voter turnout today at around 2:40 p.m. "extremely low, even for a primary," but there was a decent amount of political signage there, and campaigners were handing out literature.
The race to fill Pennsylvania's 22nd House District seat is expected to be hotly contested in Baldwin Township. Candidates in a special election for that seat are Democrat Martin Michael Schmotzer and Republican Chris Cratsley. In a rare vote-twice election, Schmotzer is also facing Erin Molchany in the 22nd District's Democratic primary.
There were some signs of life at around 4:15 p.m. today at McAnnulty Elementary School in south Baldwin. Foot traffic was up, campaign literature was present and at least one campaign worker was staked out.
The judge of elections there called the turnout "moderate" and "as expected" for a primary.
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Check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch tonight for elections results.
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