Slow but steady turnout at Wilmington polling locations

 (Shirley Min/WHYY)

(Shirley Min/WHYY)

On Tuesday, the Delaware Dept. of Elections confirmed a common belief: Political primaries typically draw far fewer voters than general elections.

“Voter turnout generally in primaries is low and it all depends on your area and what’s on the ballot you’re voting,” State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said.

Sometimes weather plays a part, but with a predicted high of 75 degrees under cloudy skies, Manlove said turnout also hinges on the candidates who are running.

“I always believe that people come out if what’s on the ballot is of interest to them,” she said.

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Statewide, Republicans are conducting a primary race for state treasurer; Democrats are seeking a candidate for state auditor.

Ken Simpler and Sher Valenzuela are vying for the GOP nomination for treasurer. The winner will face Democrat Sean Barney.

There is also a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, in which Kevin Wade is pitted against Carl Smink. The winner will challenge the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Chris Coons.

All members of Delaware’s House of Representatives are up for re-election, as is about half of the state Senate.

Paula Henderson voted in North Wilmington earlier today.

“Well, it’s pretty empty, so it was very fast,” Henderson said. “I feel as a citizen of the United States that you have an obligation to vote, even if it’s just a small election.”

An election official at another North Wilmington polling place described turnout as steady. Howard Sands was among those casting ballots on Tuesday.

Sands was in and out in under five minutes and said, “It’s a responsibility, not a privilege, it’s a responsibility [to vote].”

Manlove said primary elections in Delaware typically garner a 10 percent turnout. The elections commissioner hopes Tuesday’s turnout hits that low mark, at least.

Polls are scheduled to close at 8 p.m.

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