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Low voter turnout expected in off-year Virginia primary

Monday - 8/8/2011, 4:48am  ET

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON - Virginia holds an off-year, off-schedule primary two weeks from Tuesday.

Candidates are being chosen for General Assembly seats in both the House and Senate. But is anyone paying attention?

In Northern Virginia, Democrats will choose two Senate candidates in the 30th and 31st Senate districts in Alexandria and Arlington and one House candidate in the 49th District in Alexandria.

Republicans will choose four Senate candidates in the 36th District in Prince William County, the 37th and 39th districts which are mostly in Fairfax County and the 13th District which includes parts of Loudoun and Prince William counties. There is a Republican primary in the 87th House District in Loudoun County.

The primary is Aug. 23 when most people are thinking more about a trip to the beach than one to the voting booth.

"You could see as low as single digit turnout in a number of these races given the circumstances, the timing and the like" says George Mason University Professor of Public Policy Mark Rozell.

He says it's a key primary, after redistricting, with results possibly setting up how the General Assembly is divided and how policy is decided for years to come.

For a list of candidates, click here.

The primary for General Assembly seats is usually held in early June, but it was delayed more than two months this year while the General Assembly debated redrawing districts, which is required every 10 years.

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