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Low voter turnout expected in Congressional primary

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Albany/HV: Low voter turnout expected in Congressional primary
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By the time voters head to the polls in November, there will have been three primary elections. The second primary is today. And as our Beth Croughan tells us, not many were expected to show up to the polls.

TROY, N.Y. -- At noon Tuesday, more than 70 polling locations opened in Rensselaer County, giving voters a chance to choose candidates to run for Congress.

Three Republicans have campaigned to take on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, while several candidates are vying for a House seat this November. In Rensselaer, it's the 19th Congressional District.

"It's a little different this year. This is the first time we've ever had a Congressional primary on the date of June 26th," explained Ed McDonough, the Rensselaer County Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner.

Historically, the primary is held in September and the change, McDonough said, likely means low turnout. His Republican counterpart adds name recognition among voters is low too.

"We believe there's just not a lot of publicity on this campaign. And the three candidates that are vying for the Senate seat, they just haven't done a lot of advertising and a lot of people just don't even know this primary is taking place," said Commissioner Larry Bugbee of the Board of Elections.

In Rensselaer County, more than 24,000 registered Republicans are eligible to vote in the Senate primary and nearly 10,000 Democrats can cast their ballot in the 19th Congressional District.

"As you well know, all politics is local so it's going to vary from district to district and it could be higher certainly in more high profile competitive races. But statewide, I would say probably upper single to low double digits," said Leonard Cutler, the Director of Siena's Center for the Study of Government and Politics.

In April, less than seven percent of enrolled Republicans voted in New York's presidential primary. The last of the three primaries comes in September where people will decide on state and local races.

"Primary voter turnout in fact, usually is on the light side," said Cutler.

Polls close at 9 p.m.

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