With 86 percent of the precinct votes reported at 11:17 p.m. Tuesday only about 10.44 percent of eligible voters in all of Chester County had cast a ballot in the Pennsylania Primary Election.
It's a turnout rate candidates and poll workers at several Phoenixville polling places had expected but found disappointing just the same.
Incumbent Phoenixville Borough Council Candidate Dana Dugan (D-West Ward) had visited all three precinct polling places in her district when Patch caught up with her at the Phoenixville Area Middle School a little before 7 p.m.. "Horrible," she replied when first asked how turnout had been for Tuesday's primary.
"Normally this is what you'd expect on a cold day, a rainy day, but today is beautiful," Dugan said. "You know maybe becuase it's so beautiful, it's too beautiful. People had other things to do," she said looking over her shoulder at the packed tennis courts at the Middle School.
Dugan echoed the sentiments of other candidates and some poll workers Patch spoke with at other Phoenixville area polling places Tuesday who say many voters don't fully understand the importance of these primary elections. "These are races for school board, and Borough, and Mayor," Dugan said, "and these people affect your life more than the President." Dugan said presidential elections always draw big crowds, but that primaries like this one, in an off year don't grab the attention of the electorate. "Most of the stuff the President does doesn't affect your life at all. What I do, I determine how much you're pahing for taxes, how much you're paying for your trash, how much you're paying for your water/sewer bill and that's something that I think people should be more involved in, and for it to be so few people, it'll be like 10, 12 percent who come out this time and that's sad."
Phoenixville Area School Board incument candidate Betsy Ruch (R-At Large) had been to 19 polling places by 5:45 p.m. and reported the same basic turnout numbers everywhere. "I think it's a shame, really," Ruch told Phoenixville Patch as she greeted the small handful of voters who trickled in to vote at Phoenixville Area High School. "Four years ago when I ran there were like 33,000 voters and about 3,300 voted. It's really too bad. People should have more interest. You know, it's off-year, but school board are the people who set the tax rate so they should at least be able to vote for them."
Inside the PAHS lobby where 45 out of a potential 743 registered voters had cast a ballot betwenn 7 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. veteran poll workers were also disappointed, but not surprised, by the lack of voter turnout.
Judge of Elections Pat Slawecki told Patch "What disturbs me the most is people do not consider the fact that the primary election is more important than the general election because in the pirimary they eliminate the people that they don't want and they vote for the people that they do want. And if they want somebody to run in November, they have to vote for them in May."