Primary vote turnout beyond expectations

Jefferson County voters turned out beyond expectations in last week’s presidential primary, while Clallam County voters were a little less enthused with their choices.

As of Friday, the second and near-final day of counting of mail-in ballots, the turnout of registered voters was 51 percent in Jefferson County and 45 percent in Clallam County, according to county auditors.

Clallam Auditor Patty Rosand said she’d predicted such a turnout, but Donna Eldridge, Jefferson auditor, had expected only 37 percent of county voters to go to the polls Tuesday.

“To come up with 51.24 percent, that’s a really good turnout,” Eldridge said.

The $10 million primary election meant little.

The state Democratic Party is ignoring the primary results and instead is using the Feb. 9 precinct caucuses to allocate all of its regular delegates to the national convention.

The Republican Party is using the primary results to allocate 19 of its 40 national delegates.

Statewide, Secretary of State Sam Reed had projected a 47 percent turnout.

Statewide turnout as of Friday was 37.7 percent, with an estimated 68,850 votes left to count.

In the statewide Democratic primary, Barack Obama won 50.8 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton took 45.7 percent.

In the statewide Republican primary, John McCain took 49.1 percent of the vote, while second-runner Mike Huckabee won 23.5 percent.

Clallam and Jefferson counties followed suit.

Democrats in Clallam County gave Obama 52.4 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 43.6 percent, while in Jefferson County, Obama won 58.2 percent of the vote, and Clinton took 36.8 percent.

Republicans in Clallam County gave McClain 47.1 percent of the vote and Huckabee 22.6 percent, while those in Jefferson County gave McCain 53 percent of the vote and Huckabee 17.9 percent.

Jefferson County sent 10,678 voters to the polls compared to 9,316 in 2000, she said.

In Clallam County, 21,655 persons voted. Eight years ago, 22,391 people — 57 percent of registered voters — cast ballots.

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