MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Varying voter turnout is what our crews are finding as voters hit the polls for the Maryland governor’s primary race. DC News Now reporter Katie Rhee spoke with some voters who went to Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring to cast their ballots. However, the elections outside of the middle school were some of the only signs that would define it as a polling place. Some voters weren’t surprised by the lower turnout, but others were stunned by the lack of people in the polling place.

“I was surprised by how few people they [the election workers] said had come,” Andrew Delfino, Montgomery County voter, said after casting his ballot.

Eastern Middle School is Kathy Larin’s designated polling place. She had a plan going into today to cast her ballot to avoid the heat and the lines.

“There have been years when the line has been quite long. I think in the past I wasn’t teleworking and it was working in the office. So I would have to come in the morning or the evening when it was a lot busier,” Larin explained. “But today, I chose to come in the middle of the day in the hopes that there would not be a line and there wasn’t.”

Andrew Delfino brought one of his children with him to vote. He explained he and his partner try to take at least one of their children with them each time they vote to show them it’s their civic duty. However, he says he wasn’t surprised by the low turnout at eastern middle school because he believes Maryland has historically been a largely Democratic state, potentially discouraging some voters who might think their vote won’t matter.

“In a heavily democratic state where kind of not much is being decided, it doesn’t surprise me at the same time,” Delfini explained. “Maryland is going to be very heavily democratic and so I guess if people assume that the democrats are going to run the board, the primary doesn’t matter too much.”

Rhee spoke with Eric Mentzell, the co-chief election judge for this location in Precincts 13-15. Mentzell studied voter turnout trends for 2018 primary and 2020 general elections and used that to prepare for today. He calls the numbers promising, stressing that lower turnout is likely due to the availability of other voting methods.

“The numbers we’ve seen so far are better than the general election in 2020,” Mentzell explained. “So that says that people are feeling comfortable about coming out to the polling place and voting in person, and they’re also taking advantage of all the all the other flexibility that the voting system, mailing ballots and early voting.”

Since our crew arrived at Eastern Middle School at around 2 p.m., they only observed about 20 to 30 voters show up to cast their ballot when they left at around 5:30 p.m., but co-chief judge Mentzell says he expects more voters to head out to the polls after work.