DC elections: ‘Where are the voters?’

With one week to go before the primary election in D.C., early-voting numbers are lower than anticipated, according to the D.C. Board of Elections.

“I’m not going to lie, things have been a little slow,” said Nick Jacobs, a spokesman for the board.

As of Tuesday, voters cast fewer than 30,000 ballots using mail voting, in-person voting and ballot drop boxes. The number of votes is a relatively low number compared to the final tallies for the 2018 and 2020 primaries in D.C., which drew 89,513 and 114,890 voters, respectively.

“We’re not seeing as much turnout as we’d like,” Jacobs said, encouraging voters to get out now and not wait until the last minute.

On Monday, just 800 voters turned out to cast ballots at the District’s 39 early vote centers, where people can vote in-person before Tuesday’s primary.

“We’re just wondering, ‘Where are the voters?'” Jacobs said.

“What we’re really worried about is, come primary day, everyone is going to turn out then and there will be a lot of lines.”

Since it is a primary and not a general election, voters who are registered as an “independent” are not able to vote. Only those registered in one of the four major parties can participate. Those registered as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and with the D.C. Statehood Green Party can vote.

The highest-profile race on the ballot is the Democratic primary for D.C. mayor, with Muriel Bowser running for a third term.

Bowser faces three Democratic challengers including Council member Robert White, Council member Trayon White and James Butler. Robert White and Trayon White are not related.

Voters also will be asked to choose candidates for D.C. attorney general, D.C. Council chair and five other council seats.

“Early voting is a great opportunity to get in and get out in five minutes,” Jacobs said. “We want to make everything as easy as possible for voters.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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