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Low Voter Turnout & Delays May Play Critical Role In Primary Election

BALTIMORE (WJZ) --It's primary election day here in Maryland, but voter turnout will play a critical role in who leads our state in Campaign 2014.

Rick Ritter reports so far turnouts have been nothing more than OK, and WJZ already found some problems.

There is growing concern that a very small number of people could determine some of the top jobs in Maryland, including nominations for governor.

Analysts say voter turnout could potentially be at historic lows for this primary election.

"We have no official numbers yet, but voter turnout is low," said a representative from the State Board of Elections.

Low voter turnout and late election judges is a harmful combination.

"I'm so shocked, never seen this," said Denise Gee, voter.


"It is discouraging. It is," Gee said.


"It's a disservice to the residents," said Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, candidate, House of Delegates 40th District.

Just minutes into Tuesday's primary, Matthew A. Henson Elementary in West Baltimore already had delays.

"No election judges.  I've never heard of anything like this," said Cheatham.

Running for House of Delegates, Cheatham says election judges were an hour late, costing him votes from those who did show up but left.

"I'm a candidate and this happens to be an area I expected to do very well in," he said.

Voter Emim Bay had to come back three times Tuesday morning.

"The first two times I came in, they stated there were no judges," said Bay.

Over at Cross Country Elementary School, it's a different story.

"We opened our machines up and started on time," said James Jones, chief judge.

But like the Matthew A. Henson School, voter turnout is average at best so far.

"It has not been heavy in the first two hours," said voter.

In 2010, just 25 percent of voters went to the primary polls.  In 2012, only 19 percent voted.

Both locations say unless it picks up, there could be some surprises.

"It's a very important right, a sacred right to vote," said a voter.

Matthew A. Henson Elementary School did fix its delays. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m.

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