Voter turnout in St. Mary’s County reached 75 percent in this month’s election, just shy of the turnout in the last presidential election four years ago.
Turnout for the Nov. 4, 2008, election reached 77 percent, when 57 percent of St. Mary’s voters chose Republican John McCain to 43 percent for Democrat Barack Obama.
This month, 41 percent of local voters chose Obama for re-election as 56 percent selected Republican Mitt Romney.
“We got close” to the voter turnout in 2008, said Wendy Adkins, supervisor of the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections. Voting proceeded smoothly, and it seemed that voters who came out knew what they wanted to vote on, she said, despite a ballot that included seven state questions put to referendum.
In St. Mary’s, 7,096 voters took advantage of five days of early voting — 11.1 percent of the 63,923 registered voters — at the Potomac Building in Leonardtown. Hurricane Sandy canceled two days of early voting across the state, though.
There were lines of people waiting for early voting, but according to state law St. Mary’s won’t see a second early voting center until the number of registered voters reaches around 100,000, Adkins said.
Turnout on Election Day combined with early voting reached 70 percent, with the additional 5 percent turnout coming from absentee and provisional ballots.
The state certifies the results when all of the counties have finished their counts. Prince George’s and Montgomery counties were still canvassing absentee ballots as of Monday morning, according to the Maryland Board of Elections.
The numbers should be made official by the end of the month, Adkins said. The state’s deadline to certify the election results is Dec. 11. In St. Mary’s, “everything’s done,” she said. St. Mary’s finished its count on Friday.
Now the local election office turns to cleaning up its records, catching up on which voters are still active. Addresses have to be updated. The sample ballots that were mailed out and returned as undeliverable have to be researched.
The next election dates are June 24, 2014, for the primary and Nov. 4, 2014, for the general election. There will be races for governor, Congress, state lawmakers, the five St. Mary’s County commissioners, sheriff, state’s attorney and two school board seats.
The highest voter turnout in St. Mary’s in recent times was 83.4 percent in the Nov. 3, 1964, presidential election between President Lyndon Johnson and Republican challenger Barry Goldwater. Sixty-seven percent of county voters went with Johnson to 33 percent for Goldwater.
Voter turnout reached 79 percent in the Nov. 3, 1992, presidential election among Republican George H.W. Bush, Democrat Bill Clinton and third-party candidate Ross Perot. Forty-six percent of county voters went with Bush, though Clinton won the presidency.
The lowest voter turnout in St. Mary’s in recent years was in the Nov. 5, 1996, presidential election, which was 60 percent, when Clinton won re-election in a contest with Republican Bob Dole.