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Posted at 04:08 PM ET, 04/03/2012

Low voter turnout in school board elections

Despite major elections for Congress, primary turnout was extremely low Tuesday in Prince George’s County.

And it was unclear how the low turnout might play into the final outcoume of the nonpartisan races for school board.

Eighteen candidates were vying for five district seats on the board. The two top vote-getters for each will face off against each other in the November general election.

By 11 a.m. Tuesday, only 3 percent of the county’s 517,000 voters had cast their ballots, according to election officials.

“It’s really low,” said Alisha Alexander, director of the county’s Board of Election.

Alexander said she couldn’t explain the turnout. But some guessed that the election’s timing – in the middle of spring break – may have contributed to fewer voters casting their ballots.

Two of the most-watched races involve two of the youngest challengers, Raaheela Ahmed and incumbent Edward Burroughs III.

Ahmed, 18, a college student, is vying to unseat School Chair Jeana Jacobs in District 4 and Burroughs, 19, is being challenged by three candidates in District 8.

Michael Rosier, 60, an attorney from Bowie, said he decided to vote against Jacobs, who is serving her sixth year on the board, because of a “gut reaction.”

He wouldn’t elaborate, only adding that he selected Sherine Taylor, a human resources specialist from Upper Marlboro, making her first run for the board.

After casting his ballot at Bowie High School, Robert Hysan, a 62-year-old teacher from Bowie, said he voted for Raaheela Ahmed, “the only person who came to my door” in the District 4 race.

Ahmed, 18, a college student, has mounted a formidable campaign against Jacobs.

“I know she’s awful young and she may get eaten up alive,” he said. “But let’s give the kids a chance.”

There are three candidates — all college students between the ages of 18 and 20 — running for the school board. David Murray, 20, will advance to the November ballot against Zabrina Epps in District 1. The pair were the only ones running in the primary.

By  |  04:08 PM ET, 04/03/2012

 
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