Jay Fergusonjay@deepcreekvacations.com301-501-0420

Forty percent of registered voters turn out at polls

Megan Miller
Cumberland Times-News Thu Sep 16, 2010, 08:00 AM EDT

— OAKLAND — Forty percent of Garrett County’s registered voters cast ballots in a primary election that included several contentious races, especially for seats on the county commission.

County board of elections Director Steve Fratz said voting went smoothly on election day for all precincts, with no major candidate or voter problems.

That includes voters from the Elbow precinct, who saw their polling place relocated from the Savage Mountain Youth Center near Lonaconing to the same accommodations as the neighboring Avilton district, the Avilton Community Center.

Frantz said about 19 of 105 registered Elbow voters cast ballots in the election, and he received no comments Tuesday on the move.

Overall, Fratz said he had expected an even higher voter turnout, because the county saw several hotly contested primary races and made a strong showing in early voting.

“For early voting, we were one of the leaders (statewide), at 4.5 percent,” he said. “I thought that might have been a barometer.”

But the turnout was comparable to that of the 2006 primary, which was about 41 percent. Voter turnout is typically stronger in a presidential election year.

In Allegany County, by comparison, about 35 percent of registered voters cast ballots in this year’s primary.

Election officials will canvass absentee ballots Thursday. Fratz said there are 265 absentee ballots, and the only county race that could be impacted by that number of votes is judge of orphans court.

On Sept. 22 officials will canvass any late absentee and provisional ballots. The election results will be certified on Sept. 24.

Garrett County’s first-ever early voting period attracted 735 voters. Fratz said he expects analyses to show that most of those voters were not first-timers, but instead have a history of voting regularly in past elections.

He estimated the total cost of the early voting period to be between $10,000 and $15,000, which falls to the county for payment.

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