By Nelson Helm
Even with a warmer than usual day, the Democratic Presidential primary saw a low voter turnout on Tuesday locally, as across the state.
Close to 12 percent of registered voters participated in the Rockbridge area. In 2008, in contrast, close to 19 percent of registered voters participated in the Democratic primary in the area.
Rockbridge County Registrar Marilyn Earhart said the weather wasn’t a hindrance to voters and that people seemed upbeat when at the polling stations.
“We’ve had a lot of calls from voters that want to make sure they can vote in the election,” Earhart said. “They seem real upbeat.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won 18 of the 22 precincts in Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista, receiving 1,447 votes. Her total accounted for close to 58 percent of people who voted in the three jurisdictions. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont came in second in the area with 1,026 votes. Overall, 2,484 people cast their ballots in the Democratic primary.
In the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary, the last time that a Democratic primary was held, 3,755 people cast their ballots in the Rockbridge area. President Barack Obama garnered the most votes in the Rockbridge area with 2,022 votes. Clinton pulled in 1,681 votes in the area. She received 349,766 votes statewide.
Exit polling with nine Rockbridge area residents who voted in the Democratic primary volunteered to talk with the Rockbridge Report, with seven interviewed saying they voted for the former Secretary of State.
Lesley Wheeler, a Lexington voter, said she voted for Clinton because she thought she was a “fantastic leader.” Wheeler also said liked that she could be able to vote for a woman.
“It really moves me the idea that I may be able to vote for a woman for President,” Wheeler said. “And my mother will before she dies and my daughter will in the first election.”
Lisa Tracy, also in Lexington, said that Clinton has the experience to run the country.
“She is very smart, has a lot of international experience,” Tracy said. “I think that is what we need right now.”
Of those who said they were going to vote for Clinton, all but one said that Clinton’s gender was one reason that they were voting for her.
“[She is a] smart woman,” John David Parker said. “I think it would be nice to have a woman as president. I think it is a good thing to have diversity manifested by the system.”