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The Broward Primary Says A Lot About Voter Turnout

At 9:45 a.m. yesterday, the George English Park Community Center voting station was about as active as Chik-Fil-A on a Sunday. The half dozen poll workers outnumbered the voters, and the polite older woman sitting outside the door wore a look of mild shock when approached and asked where to register. One gets the feeling she had to endure the agony of having many potential voters advance upon her, only to make a last-minute left for the public bathroom that bordered her.

Though underwhelmed, the poll workers were incredibly nice and eager to help. From 9:45 a.m. to roughly 10:18 a.m., a total of three voters entered the station. One elderly gentleman walked in with a bicycle helmet that stayed on and strapped for the duration of his democratic process. Another middle-aged man walked in with an absentee ballot, claiming he "didn't know what to do with it now." Which is kind of like ordering a pizza, then getting in your car and following the delivery guy back to the restaurant so you can pay at the counter. A third -- again, elderly -- man walked in with a wide smile and a suave cream-colored suit. He swung open the door beaming and said, "Let's make this official." He looked as though he dressed up specifically to vote.

He probably remembers vividly the days when elections stirred up the type of frenzy that these days only a Kardashian nip-slip can cause.

Granted, it was the primary election, which is surely the Billy Baldwin of elections. It was also 9:45 a.m., an awkward time no doubt. It wasn't a national election, and the results probably wouldn't be circulated on CNN until Wolf Blitzer's tongue dried up and died like a salted slug. There wasn't much sexiness in the air.

But still, it's sad. Shouldn't any American election, no matter how small or insignificant, attract lines out the door? It's what makes us great after all, right? Or maybe I'm thinking of the Doritos Locos Taco?

In total, there are 1,058,558 registered voters in Broward County. Broward's total population is around at 1,876,261.

In Broward's 2012 primary, only 117,604 registered voters out of 1,098,969 actually voted. That's only 10.7%.

If you invited 50 people to a party, and only 10.7% of them showed up, you'd probably cry into your ice cream cake. Please send your tissues to Broward's Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda C. Snipes: 115 S. Andrews Ave, Room 102, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33301.

One of the poll workers in charge of assisting voters with sliding their ballots into a giant ATM-like machine was saying, "See you in November!" to everyone as they left. Let's hope she's right.

Maybe the allure of marijuana will have lines around the corner and the poll workers of George English Park will be so busy they'll run out of I Voted stickers and be forced to just scribble it on people's breasts with a magic marker. But even if the voter turnout is better than expected, it probably still won't be what it should be.

Broward Election Statistics 2012

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Ryan Pfeffer is Miami New Times’ music editor. After earning a BS in editing, writing, and media from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor, where he coined the phrase "pee-tweet" (to retweet someone while urinating). Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, he’s now neck-deep in bass and booty in the 305.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer

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