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Final Super Tuesday turnout numbers expected to be low in Charlottesville area

The 2024 presidential match is virtually set, as the U.S. braces for a rematch between President Biden on the left and former President Donald Trump on the right.

That near certainty was reflected in voter turnout in Charlottesville Tuesday, as fewer votes were set to be counted compared to recent presidential primaries, according to the latest data available.

Walking out of a polling station near City Hall, former city councilor Kathy Galvin noted just how few people showed up.

“I think there’s a sense that it’s a done deal, so people don’t think their vote matters unfortunately,” Galvin told The Daily Progress.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, just 6.4% of active registered voters had cast a ballot in the city. Polls were set to close after press time, but if that rate of turnout holds, it will be a significant drop-off from 2020 and 2016 contests.

There were 13,731 votes cast in the city’s Democratic primary four years ago, when independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders bested Biden by a couple hundred votes.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, less than 2,000 people had cast a ballot, and that’s including both Democratic and Republican contests.

The last time both parties held a primary was 2016. That didn’t have as large of a turnout as 2020, but 11,000 people did hit the city’s polling stations, a significantly larger number than the tally at press time Tuesday.

The same is true in Albemarle County. More than 12,000 people voted in the 2020 Democratic primary, a significantly larger turnout than totals available as of 4 p.m. Tuesday: 2,567 had voted in the Democratic primary and 5,516 had voted in the Republican primary.

The larger turnout for the GOP primary may be due to Trump having at least some competition in former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

At least one devout Democrat chose to partake in the Republican contest, not necessarily to support Haley, but rather to slow down Trump.

That would be Allison Spillman, who was elected to the Albemarle County School Board last November.

With Biden a virtual lock for the nomination, Spillman said she and some friends took another strategy, one she hopes will thwart Trump: She voted in the Republican primary instead of the Democratic, casting her ballot for Haley.

The commonwealth does not require voters to register for a party, and each voter can choose at the polling station which contest they want to partake in.

“It mattered more to me that my vote count towards stopping Trump rather than making little to no impact towards Biden’s nomination,” Spillman told The Daily Progress. “I think Virginia is a favorable state for Haley, and I want to send a message that Trump is not fit to be our president.”

Final tallies were not available by press time Tuesday, and while Trump has yet to lose a single state (although he lost the District of Columbia to Haley on Sunday) and is heavily favored to win the GOP nomination, some pundits believe Haley — more moderate than her hard-right opponent — could find some success among the Virginia electorate. Haley has argued that Trump is too extreme for most Americans and that he would lose in a general election.

For the few that did show for the Democratic contest, they did not feel as though their vote would make a difference in the outcome. Rather, they said, it was their civic duty to partake in the democratic process.

Elizabeth Margutti sat outside a polling station with her neighbor’s dog, Izzie, both waiting for the neighbor to finish voting. Margutti cast a ballot for Biden.

“I do know that he’s not really running against anybody, but I felt like I needed to come down and vote,” she said.

As a former elected official, Galvin said local governments are more capable of getting things done than the federal government, which she considers unstable.

“That’s why I want to keep Joe Biden in office. We need stability, and he produces. People are forgetting that he’s produced a lot of great stuff that people all over the country are benefiting from,” Galvin said.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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