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Primary runoff election in El Paso kicks off, local expert predicts low voter turnout

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EL PASO, Texas -- Election Day in El Paso kicks off Tuesday. While there are several races to vote for, turnout continues to be an issue.

"It's hard to forecast what the actual number will be, but I assure you that it's going to be low," said Dr. Richard Pineda, director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at UTEP.

"I think we see voting and we like to vote broadly speaking, but I don't necessarily know that as citizens, we think of voting…I think we talk about it as a right, but we don't necessarily talk about it as an obligation. I think that's a big part of it.” 

During the primary runoff election back in 2018, only about 5 percent of voters came out and that could be the case this year. Only about 13,000 voters hit the polls during early voting, out of the more the 497,000 registered voters.

Dr. Pineda said while the county elections department does a great job trying to encourage all people to vote during every election civic and voter education especially during smaller elections doesn't connect with people.

“Plus, remember, you got to overlap this with the time we're at. You've got a lot of people who are just starting summer, you've got some schools that have already let out, so parents are dealing with kids," Dr. Pineda said. "So it's not a good time and it is very hard to motivate people to actually get out and vote."

There are more than 100 polling sites to choose from across El Paso County. The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. If you voted in either the democratic or republican primary, you may only vote in the same party's runoff.

To access your sample ballot, click here.

For more election information, click here.

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Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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