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Light Voter Turnout Reported

By Associated Press

Montgomery – Turnout in Alabama's primary election Tuesday was light, with preliminary returns indicating about 15 percent of the voters participating.

Clear skies prevailed across most areas of the state Tuesday, but scattered showers fell in a few places.

The state's chief election official, Secretary of State Beth Chapman, had predicted the turnout would be 12 percent to 15 percent. Preliminary numbers indicate about 392,000 of Alabama's 2.59 million active voters participated, which would be 15 percent turnout. Primary turnouts are typically low, particularly when there are no major statewide offices, such as governor, at stake on the ballot.

Chapman said the big draws were the 2nd and 5th Congressional Districts, where incumbents are retiring.

Standing in an almost empty parking lot outside the polling place at the Montgomery Museum of Art, Robin Blessing said she feels it's her duty as an American to vote in every election, even when voter interest is low.

She said she was particularly interested in Tuesday's primary because of the race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Terry Everett in Alabama's 2nd District.

"I wanted to be sure and vote in that race," said Blessing, a 53-year-old children's minister at Christian Life Church in Montgomery.

Beth Poe, a Montgomery attorney, said she feels it's her civic responsibility to go to the polls.

"To my knowledge I've never missed an election. I used to drive home to vote when I was in college," Poe said.

She said she was particularly interested in the appellate court races.

"I think it really is sad that more people don't take an interest in who makes the policies that affect their lives," Poe said.

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