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Florida Primary Voter Turnout Lowest Its Been in 16 Years

Just 17.5 percent of Florida's registered voters bothered to turn out for Florida's primary election on Tuesday. That's the lowest turnout in a state-wide election in the state in 16 years. The last time voter turnout was lower was when only 16.6 percent of Floridians bothered to turn out for the 1998 primary election.

Voter turn out was down from about 22 percent from 2010's midterm election primary.

It's not perhaps particularly surprising.

Both parities gubernatorial candidates were pretty much decided before the election even started. Rick Scott is, of course, the incumbent, and Charlie Crist's entrant into the field as a Democrat probably cleared the field of a strong challenge from other Democrats.

Nan Rich put up a noble fight, but at no point during the election was she embraced by the Democratic establishment despite being a former state Senate Minority Leader. Even her staunchest supporters didn't believe she had much of a chance.

In fact, only one other statewide race had a primary. Former state Rep. George Sheldon defeated state Rep. Perry Thurston to claim the Democrat's attorney general nomination. Despite the fact that Sheldon will take on controversial Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi in the general election, the primary contest didn't draw all that much attention.

Partisan primaries also are not open to voters who are registered as independents. So unless there were local elections going on, independent and other voters had no real reason to show up.

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Voter turnout was particularly low in South Florida. Broward County had the lowest turnout in the state with just 10.77 percent. Broward, y'all lazy. You're supposed to be the "liberal bastion" of the state. No wonder Florida's politicians tend to lean more right than the general population. (In fact, Broward's generally low turnout is probably to blame for Rick Scott winning the general election in 2012, but that's another story... and one that also includes Miami-Dade, so who are we to throw stones?)

Palm Beach drew just a 12 percent turnout.

Meanwhile, 14.4 percent of Miami-Dade voters turned out. That means we did pretty good by South Florida standards, but not by the rest of the state. Of course, there were several important local races going on in Miami as well. That includes some hard-fought county commission races, a mayoral race in North Miami, and a referendum in Miami on that SkyRise thing.

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