On a fair spring day shimmering with dogwood blooms and golden light, it's not just the students who are taking a spring break. Primary voters stayed away en masse from Greenbelt polling stations Tuesday morning and early afternoon.
Noting that he had been working the polls for 20 years and couldn't remember a primary where there wasn't at least one electioneer outside, election judge Alan Huff reported that today was a first. He had seen no one handing out pamphlets or campaigning all morning by the station, where about 50 people had voted by 8:47 a.m.
Other polling stations reported a similar dearth in voters. At 9:50 a.m. at , election official Kim Paz reported 10 people had voted.
"I expected it to be slow, I didn't expect it to be this slow," Paz said. She thought voters may have stayed away because Maryland is primarily a Democratic state and President Barack Obama was their one choice. "They'll wait until the Republicans have their candidate," she speculated.
Standing nearby, Republican Chief Election Judge Warren Wilcox agreed that there wasn't much choice on the Democratic side.
By 12:20 p.m. at Turning Point Academy's station, a total of 71 people had voted. Democratic Chief Election Judge Clyde Davis said that it was averaging out to be about 17 voters per hour.
At by 12:50 p.m., 99 Greenbelt citizens had voted. Thirty-five minutes later at 1:25 p.m., one more showed up, bringing the total to 100, Election Judge John Angotti reported.
He thought a lot people didn't even know there was a primary. "If you ask 10 people on the street today if there's an election in Greenbelt, I would think more than half would not know about it," Angotti said.
"Today there's going to be a lot of dead time," Huff said. He said he was surprised because the Republican presidential candidate was not decided yet. But Huff thought one thing was sure, "It's a beautiful day, so they can't blame it on the weather."