High Turnout Expected for Tuesday Primary - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

High Turnout Expected for Tuesday Primary

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PROSSER, Wash.--  County auditors are expecting a big turnout for Tuesday's primary election.  One reason behind this is the new "top two" primary system.  In the new system, the top two vote-getters--no matter their party affiliation--will move on to November's general election.

Brenda Chilten, the Benton County Deputy auditor, says she expects voter turn out to be in the 40 percentile.  "We're hoping for 50 percent, which for a primary is very good," adds Chilten. 

The reason voter turn out is historically low may be attributed to the constant re-formatting of Washington's primaries.  This year marks the third primary change since 2003.  Prior to that, the state voted in a "blanket primary," but that was deemed unconstitutional five years ago. 

"This year it's a whole different primary system and we haven't had any complaints," notes Chilten.  "People are very happy with the system as it is this year."

And voters seem to agree.

"That's how I think it ought to be," remarks one voter.  "It doesn't need to be a party.  it should be who you want in there, what their values are."

Chilten says the new system seems to a hit.  "This year it's a whole different primary system and we haven't had any complaints.  People are very happy with the system as it is this year."  She adds, 2008 is a "high interest year" in part because of the governor's race.  2004's race will forever be remembered because of the two recounts that resulted in Chris Gregoire's victory by a slim margin.     

All ballots are due by eight o'clock Tuesday.  If you are mailing in your ballot, be sure it is postmarked no later than Tuesday.

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