The turnout for the primary last week was -- well -- pathetic. The official report of the canvassing committee published today pegs the percentage at 8.5 percent.
The number of Vermonters who cast ballots came to just 36,716. Two years ago, 81,276 people voted in the primary. Eight years ago, 122,437 voted.
Was it just that there weren't any hot contests? And why was that the case? Too few people wanted to take the risk of running?
There are a few interesting tidbits in the official report of the canvassing committee. Incumbent Democractic Congressman Peter Welch
not only defeated Craig Hill in an intra-party contest, but also won the Republican nomination with 600 write-in votes.
Tom Salmon, Democratic incumbent auditor, also won the Republican nomination with 645 of the 1,017 write-in votes.
The Progressive Party had promoted a slate of statewide candidates it wanted supporters to write in last week, but only two received enough write-in votes (250 needed) to get their names on the November ballot through this process. Fearing such an outcome because of the low turnout, the state party recently met and nominated the slate -- minus Anthony Pollina.
Pollina was one of the two Progressives who won write-in campaigns, but Pollina
will decline the Progressive nomination in favor of running as an independent. Thomas Hermann's write-in success makes him the Progressive candidate for Congress.
Turnout by county tell a story, too. Essex County had 16.1 percent turnout compared to Lamoille
at 3.9 percent. Chittenden
County, with its purportedly interesting contest among nine Democrats for six slots on the ballot, still had only 7 percent of voters turn out.
So was this just one of those dull elections or does this low turnout signal something worrisome?
-- Nancy Remsen