Voter Turnout Expected to be Modest at Best

Most experts are predicting light voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election.  Franklin & Marshall College political science professor Terry Madonna says that’s especially the case now that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has suspended his presidential campaign.  “25 – 30% among Republicans, and maybe 20 – 25% among Democrats,” Madonna hypothesizes.  “I think if it reaches that it will be a good day.” 

Terry Madonna

Terry Madonna

He says legislative – and even congressional – primaries aren’t typically big draws at the ballot box.  “We may get a little modest bump on the Republican side in the Senate primary, because of the money spent on advertising.  But even there, Senate primaries typically are not big attention grabbers.” 

On the Democratic side, the big statewide draw is the race for the Attorney General nomination between Kathleen Kane and Patrick Murphy

State party officials appear to be a bit more optimistic about voter turnout on Tuesday.  A spokeswoman for the Republican Party of Pennsylvania says other states have already tracked greater numbers of primary voters than in the 2008 primary cycle, and a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party estimates they’ll see 30 – 40% turnout among Pennsylvania Democrats. 

Voters can brush up on the primary ballots and confirm their polling places online.  The polls will be open from 7am – 8pm on Tuesday.