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Low Early Voting Totals Could Mean Light Turnout For D.C. Primary

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In less than 24 hours, the polls will open in the D.C. mayoral primary. And if early voting is an indication, turnout could be low for tomorrow's election.

Early voting is now over. Roughly 14,000 voters participated, less than the 22,000 early voters that cast a ballot in 2010. That's a 36 percent drop off, despite the fact the city opened up more early early voting centers this year.

The highest turnout came from voters in wards 3, 4 and 6, while it was lowest among those in wards 2, 7 and 8.

A big difference between 2010 and this year's primary is the calendar. Due to a federal law, city officials pushed up the primary date several months, meaning less time to raise money, less time to contact voters with advertising — and with fewer hours of daylight because of winter — less time to canvas the streets and knock on doors.

The D.C. Board of Elections says it expects 40 percent turnout for the primary, on par with the 2010 contest between Mayor Vincent Gray and then-mayor Adrian Fenty.

Of course, a big get-out-the-vote effort tomorrow by the campaigns could provide a big boost in voter turnout and with recent polls showing a tight race — it looks like every vote will matter.

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