This week’s primary election was an important one on several fronts. Here are some thoughts:
Of the 31,792 registered voters in Worcester, 20.21%, or 6,424 people, turned out to vote in the gubernatorial primary. It was the same percentage turnout in Wicomico where 9,483 people voted out of the 46,922 eligible.
Heading into this week’s primary, concerns abounded whether the change in the timing of the election from its customary September to June would reduce voter turnout. In Worcester, at least, that appears to be the case. In the last mid-term primary, voter turnout was 23%. But, to compare apples to apples, I looked back to the last gubernatorial primary and Worcester had a 33% turnout.
Regardless of the timing, a 20% voter turnout is disturbing. People were generally not interested in this election and that’s a shame.
I like to take part in early voting because it’s quick and there are multiple days to fit in voting. However, when I went last Wednesday, I was the only voter in the building and I never saw another one during the 10 minutes it took. Of the 6,424 voters who cast a ballot in early voting or ib election day, 1,225 were credited to early voting in Worcester. That’s 3.85% of the electorate, which is below the state average of 4.17%.
The Maryland General Assembly should request a report on early voting from the state Board of Elections. In theory, it’s a worthwhile concept. Extend the hours and days residents can vote and that added convenience will boost turnout. The only problem is that goal has not been reached.
There has to be a major expense to offer early voting for the local boards of election, and a review of the system is warranted because it surely is not as popular among voters as initially believed.
The election decided several local races, including the re-election of Worcester Sheriff Reggie Mason to his second term and Worcester Commissioner Jim Bunting to his second term.
Mason dominated in his matchup with fellow Republican George Truitt, gaining 82% of the votes. Mason was expected to be victorious, but the margin of victory was surprising to many.
Bunting also had an easy time getting re-elected, defeating familiar foe and former Commissioner Linda Busick. He received 390 votes, or 63%, compared to Busick’s 253, or 37%.
The Dew Tour is well underway. While the aura of the event has inevitably waned, as this is its fourth year in OceanCity, it’s still a special weekend for the resort.
For me, it’s amazing to watch the construction aspect of this event every year. I actually find this process more appealing than the athletic aspect. The crews take an empty expanse of beach and transform it into an impressive village that features the various skate and BMX arenas, vendor space, a live music stage and much more.
In previous years, the dismantling of the Dew Tour did not get much attention, but it most certainly will next week. The construction team has a shorter turn around this year because there cannot be evidence of the Dew Tour village on the beach by the Fourth of July as the space is needed for the planned fireworks displays downtown.
“Fanny dipping” is a term that’s tough to say or write without smiling. I have seen thousands of historic Ocean City photos but until this week I had never actually seen people in the act of “fanny dipping.”
The term refers to what people at the turn of the 20th Century used to do when they went in the ocean, and Ocean City historian Bunk Mann wrote in his weekly column “Vanishing Ocean City” about how the town used to place a rope in the ocean for people to hold on to while they cooled off. I love this sort of history stuff.
By the way, Mann’s new hardback book, titled “Vanishing Ocean City,” will be available for purchase in mid-August.