Crow Wing County's primary voter turnout of 8 percent mirrored the meager statewide numbers of 7 percent, but election officials aren't worried about a repeat performance on Nov. 2.
The difference, Crow Wing County Auditor Roy Luukkonen said, will be the presidential election.
"Everybody wants to vote for the president," he said.
Driven by a media-intense presidential campaign, Luukkonen said he expects Crow Wing's turnout in the November general election to approach 80 percent.
Appointed auditor in 1988, Luukkonen said Tuesday's turnout was disappointing, particularly since Crow Wing averaged around 21 percent turnout in 2000 and 2002 primaries.
Crow Wing County's low voter turnout could be attributed to the fact that it had no county-wide primary race. Only 13 of the Crow Wing precincts voted on the District 12B primary races in the Republican and Democratic parties.
In contrast, most Morrison County precincts were in District 12B, a factor that Rep. Greg Blaine, R-Little Falls, who won the Republican nomination, credited for that county's 19 percent turnout.
Other than the low turnout in Crow Wing County, everything went smoothly, Luukkonen said. Forty of Crow Wing's 59 precincts have precinct counters, machines that conduct tabulations right on site. Nine of the smaller precincts use mail balloting, he said, a method that has resulted in relatively high voter turnout.
"We had a real even flow," he said of Tuesday night's primary vote counting.
MIKE O'ROURKE can be reached at mike. email@example.com or 855-5860.
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