‘This will be the lowest turnout election we’ve seen in decades’

    Are we on track to the lowest turn-out primary election in memory? The early signs here in Democrat-friendly Camp Hill are certainly pointing that way.

    Polling places in three, separate locations were all but deserted at mid-morning on Tuesday. At Camp Hill’s 4th District, which occupies one half of Prosser Hall, a normally cavernous meeting room in borough hall, just 29 of the district’s 786 voters had turned out by 11 a.m., an election judge told me this morning.

    Democrat Sean Quinlan, who’s in a three-way primary for the 87th House District seat held by Republican Rep. Greg Rothman, says that with the profusion of mail-in ballots, “this will be the lowest turnout election we’ve seen in decades.”

    David Buell, a local Republican committeeman, told me that about 20 percent of Cumberland County’s registered voters had mailed in ballots, with Democrats commanding a 60-40 advantage of that tally, based on the most recent numbers that he’d seen.

    A similar scene played out a few blocks away at the Cleve Frederiksen Library, where a pair of campaign volunteers mostly had themselves for company. A trickle of voters came and went during my brief stop there.

    Across town, at Hoover Elementary School, just 45 voters had shown up by 11:45 a.m., a GOP poll volunteer told me.

    If Buell is correct, and Democrats do, in fact, have the mail-in balloting edge in a suburban county that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, but has trended steadily purple ever since, that could spell trouble for both Trump and vulnerable GOP candidates down the ballot, including U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, who’s a fixture on this year’s list of vulnerable incumbents.

    John L. Micek
    A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press