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Voter Turnout Extremely Low For Illinois Primary

UPDATED: 3/21/2012 - 7:10 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Turnout for Tuesday's Illinois primary in Chicago was a meager 24 percent, officials said.

It was the lowest turnout for a presidential primary in the past 70 years.

Election officials said a lack of contested races was behind the lackluster activity at the polls.

"It's very, very disappointing," said Langdon Neal, chairman of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. "I think what it indicates is that a lack of a contest on the Democratic side at the top of the ticket really did cause our voters not to be engaged in this election."

Four years ago, Barack Obama was in a heated primary race with Hillary Clinton. This year, Obama has his sights set on the general election. Meantime, GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, who rolled to an easy win in Illinois over his main rival, Rick Santorum.

But that didn't equate to enthusiasm for Romney, an expert said.

"You could draw a larger crowd at a Green Bay Packers rally in downtown Chicago than what Mr. Romney delivered yesterday in Illinois," U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Wednesday on CBS This Morning.

And there are a handful of contested congressional contests, but even that didn't seem to generate interest.

The other two GOP hopefuls, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, largely ignored Illinois.

Today's sunny weather was not enough to drive people to their polling places this afternoon.

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