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Turnout light in Pennsylvania

A quick report from the field in Pennsylvania.

Voter turnout is light in virtually all parts of the state, particularly in Philadelphia, the office of the Secretary of State confirms, developments that are likely to favor Joe Sestak.

Arlen Specter needs high turnout because his supporters are thought to be less enthusiastic, while Sestak's are more motivated. Specter particularly is counting on high turnout in Philly.

But Charlie Young, a spokesman for the Secretary of State, says turnout in the state, where the weather is bad today, is low.

"It's relatively light, with some higher concentrations out in the areas that have the special election for Murtha's seat," he says, referring to the battle for Pennsylvania's 12th district in the southwestern part of the state.

Philadelphia's turnout, he says, is even lighter. "There are no lines anywhere," he says.

This is born out by an official with a major union backing Specter, who says union hands doing get-out-the-vote work are reporting back that "turnout is abysmal."

"People aren't fired up about Specter," the official conceded. "It's low statewide, and then in Philly it especially sucks."

The Philadelphia Inquirer has lots more anecdotal evidence along these lines. Polls close at 8 P.M E.T., and we'll be blogging the results right here.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 18, 2010; 4:28 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Dems  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup


Light turnout favors Sestak, but it also favors Burns.

Posted by: johnyt1977 | May 18, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Finally, someone acknowledges the elephant in the room...

"People aren't fired up about Specter"

Posted by: soapm | May 18, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm always surprised that articles about and discussions of Pennsylvania turnout never mention that the state practically goes out of its way to discourage voting. I live in Sestak's congressional district and received not a single campaign visit, phone call (robo- or live), or piece of literature from any candidate of either party. And Pennsylvania, unlike every other state in which I've lived (CA, NJ, NY), mails out no sample ballots and has a multi-step process for requesting an absentee ballot, with no easy way to track down the information. In every election here (if I'm even aware there *is* an election), who and what appears on the ballot is something of a surprise to everyone except the campaigners who are allowed to block the polling-place entrance and harangue those attempting to enter. And no surprise, Pennsylvania turnout is incredibly low unless a presidency is in question. "There are no lines anywhere," says the spokesman? There are *never* any lines anywhere.

Posted by: words_and_music | May 18, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Interesting info about PA words&music. I'm in CA and we get absolutely inundated with sample ballots, robo calls, mailers etc., even in off year elections. I live on a corner close to the fire station and know quite a few of the guys there and we always let them put signs out front too. I'm sure my neighbors are thrilled.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 18, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: wbgonne | May 18, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Happy hour roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 18, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Turn out is up in Philadelphia this evening according to The Committee of Seventy. Never write Specter off.

Posted by: babsf342 | May 18, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Guess when you have a race between two unexciting candidates, an unexciting candidate always wins. The part about Specter counting on high turnout in Philly seems counter-intuitive, but I hope it's true. As unimpressed as I am by Sestak, I'd still enjoy not having Arlen Specter to kick around anymore. I would think high turn-out in Murtha's old district would be good news for the senator though, him being the Republican and all.

Posted by: CalD | May 18, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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