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Absentee Voting Points to Lower Super Tuesday Turnout

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The Virginia Board of Elections says about 80,000 people asked for an absentee ballot for the Democratic presidential primary tomorrow.

About 55,000 ballots have been returned. And that’s pointing to a low turnout on Super Tuesday.

Election officials say absentee voting has been as light as the snowfall this winter. In Radford for example, registrar Tracy Howard has collected just a hundred ballots so far.  "We’re looking at probably 10 to 12% turnout overall, hoping for better than that."

On Saturday, the last day to cast an absentee ballot in person, a cold breeze whipped the flags outside the Montgomery County registrar’s office. A few voters showed up, like Abigail Horst of Christiansburg, a Bernie Sanders supporter.  "He’s the most genuine in his positions. He’s been pushing those positions for a long time," Horst said.

Laurie Coble of Blacksburg hopes Joe Biden can prevail in Virginia as he just did in South Carolina.  "He’s just got more experience. He’s more presidential," Coble noted. "I think he could make good decisions."

County resident Mike Abbott said Democrats should focus on finding the best person for the job. "Personally I think Pete Buttigieg is the probably the best candidate to get this country back on track to where we need to go." By Sunday night, though, Buttigieg had dropped out of the race.

The primary is open to any registered voter. The ballot has 14 names, but with Tom Steyer and Mayor Pete dropping out over the weekend and Amy Klobuchar on Monday, only five are still in the race.

And more candidates may be gone with the wind once the 15 Super Tuesday contests are done.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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