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Turnout Higher Than Expected In Fairfax Elections, Still Low

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May elections in local races don't get the benefit of greater interest in state and national races.
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May elections in local races don't get the benefit of greater interest in state and national races.

Turnout was light in the Fairfax County elections, but was actually a little higher than expected.

Of Vienna registered voters, 16 percent showed up at the polls yesterday to vote for candidates in a town council election, way more than the 5 percent that was expected.

And about 31 percent of Clifton voters showed up at the polls, slightly more than the 20 to 25 percent elections officials anticipated.

In Herndon, where voters had a hotly contested race for mayor, about 21 percent of registered voters participated in the election. That was about what election officials predicted.

"It seems to me that voters speak to the question of May elections every time we have one and no one shows up," says Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.

Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel seems to have beaten back challenger Connie Haines Hutchinson, according to unofficial returns from the Fairfax County Office of Elections. After provisional ballots are considered this morning, elections officials plan to certify the vote in the afternoon.

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