ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The Monroe County Board of Elections told News 8 Tuesday afternoon that people were likely choosing to not engage in the primary election — or perhaps just weren’t aware of it.

With turnout sitting at just over 4% at around 4 p.m., it looked like it would be lower than past primary races.

One possible reason for this is that there were no Congressional races and, with the exception of a few local races, the focus was largely on who will represent the Democrats and Republicans for the gubernatorial election in November.

Another limiting factor is that only registered Republicans and Democrats were able to vote. Working Families, Conservatives, Green Party, and others were not allowed to vote.

By the time the polls closed and the Board of Elections took its final count at 9 p.m., things did drift up into a more average range of voter turnout.

It’s difficult to compare this year’s numbers to those of years prior for both parties. In past years, the GOP hadn’t put forth many statewide primary races.

Looking at turnout among Democratic voters:

  • In 2018 there was a 25.8% turnout among Democratic voters
  • In 2019 there was a 17% turnout among Democratic voters

By 9 p.m. on Tuesday of this year, townships across Monroe County stood at 17.5%. In the City of Rochester, it was 12.5%. Monroe County in total was at 15.8 percent.

Voters said the lower foot traffic was disappointing, especially with everything going on right now in the state and nation.

“I feel like its important to vote, especially Upstate New York, [and] Long Island New York, so it’s a little disappointing that turn out is low, but — I’m hoping that will change as more and more people hear things on the news about the importance of it,” voter Meera Patel said.

“It is a shame in light of recent events with the decision of our Supreme Court — but like you said, it is the primaries and it is party-specific, so hopefully with the other elections happening this year we’ll have a better turn out— But I hope more people come out and support their rights and vote for the people who are representing them,” voter Sabrina Hogan in Henrietta said.

Others found the experience of voting very through and very easy. Army veteran Ken Debuck wishes more people turned out.

“The process was simple — there’s hardly anyone in there,” he said. “Walk in, check in, vote and walk out. Of course it’s important because how else are we going to determine our future?”