By Adam Pagnucco.
Part One showed the overall turnout rate by county in the 2020 primary but that statistic conceals numerous nuances. Today, we will look at turnout by party. Let’s start with the Democrats.
Every Maryland county had higher turnout among Democrats than among voters overall except Cecil, Dorchester and Somerset. Jurisdictions with the lowest Democratic turnout rates tend to be dominated by the GOP.
The chart below shows turnout rate among Republicans.
The most obvious fact here is that statewide turnout among Republicans (35.6%) was significantly lower than among Democrats (48.7%). In fact, in every county except Cecil, Dorchester and Somerset, the turnout rate among Democrats was higher than among Republicans. Granted, with the exception of a contested county executive primary in Cecil County, Republicans don’t have much to vote for because their incumbent president had little primary competition. But something similar could be said for Democrats outside Baltimore City.
The chart below shows turnout rate among unaffiliated voters.
Only 11 counties allowed unaffiliated voters to vote in the 2020 primary. Since Maryland has closed primaries, unaffiliated voters cannot vote in party primaries but they can vote in primaries held for non-partisan offices. Among the counties allowing unaffiliated voters to vote this year, all had non-partisan school board races on the ballot except Washington County, which held non-partisan primaries for municipal offices in the City of Hagerstown.
In Part Three, we will examine change in turnout between 2016 and 2020.