By JENNIFER FITCH
10:39 PM EDT, April 24, 2012
The dwindling number of GOP presidential candidates and the sparse number of Democrats running for office led to diminished voter turnout Tuesday in Franklin County, Pa.
About 27 percent of registered Republicans and 16 percent of registered Democrats went to the polls, according to complete, but unofficial results.
In 2008, the last presidential primary, overall voter turnout was 35 percent.
“Turnout was significantly affected by the exit of (presidential candidate) Rick Santorum. When he went out of the race, it became essentially a one-man race” among Republicans, Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioner Bob Thomas said.
Franklin County Republican voters largely supported front-runner Mitt Romney, who claimed his party’s nomination Tuesday. County Republicans cast 13,029 votes in the race and gave 7,801 of them to Romney. Santorum was a distant second with 2,235 votes, according to unofficial results.
Romney, who visited Franklin County on Sunday, also fared well in neighboring Fulton County, Pa. With all 13 precincts reporting, Romney collected 671 votes, while Santorum received 339 votes in the Republican primary, according to complete but unofficial results. Newt Gingrich received 172 votes while Ron Paul earned 167 votes.
People do not follow statewide races for auditor general, attorney general and U.S. senator, Thomas said.
“I think the difference will be in the fall when the (presidential) candidates are clearly defined,” he said.
Dorothy Mummau and Leora Andrews, who worked the Southampton East polling place, said fewer than 300 of their 1,600 registered voters cast ballots. They talked to voters about the new state law requiring photo identification starting in the Nov. 6 general election.
“It was very positive (feedback) overall,” Andrews said.
“I think they’re very aware,” Mummau said.
Only two people voting in the Antrim Township-2 precinct complained about the new law, according to poll workers Harold and Connie Keller.
“Everybody was highly in favor of it,” Harold Keller said.
State lawmakers who filed for re-election include Todd Rock, a Republican who represents the 90th House District; Richard Alloway, a Republican who represents the 33rd Senate District; and Rob Kauffman, a Republican who represents the 89th House District.
Dick Hess, who represents the 78th District in the state House of Representatives, which includes Fulton County, ran unopposed Tuesday on the Republican ticket.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., filed to appear on ballots for another term.
Those candidates were unopposed on GOP ballots, although Kauffman has a Democratic challenger in November. Several people announced write-in campaigns against the politicians; those results will not be certified for several days.
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