Early reports show huge turnout for New York primaries

A maligned war, stalling economy and a chance to choose history-making candidates for president whil

A maligned war, stalling economy and a chance to choose history-making candidates for president while the race was still in doubt brought out one of New York’s biggest primary turnouts ever on Tuesday, including a strong showing by younger voters.

By the time official counts are made in coming days, it is expected that 33 percent to 34 percent of eligible Democrats voted and 20 percent of Republicans cast ballots.

The last time both parties were still competitive in New York’s primary, in 2000, 19 percent of Democrats voted while 22.5 percent of Republicans voted. New York picked Al Gore and George Bush that year.

Before New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Illinois Sen. Barack Obama 57 percent to 40 percent, Obama had been surging in the polls and was expected to give Clinton a good fight in her back yard. He won three congressional districts, was competitive in others and took a share of the state’s 232 delegates.

Primary results

For local results from Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, click here.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press was reporting Clinton with 127 delegates and Obama with 87 — leaving 18 to be allocated. Unofficial results released by the state Democratic Committee showed Clinton with 139 delegates and Obama with 93. The delegate count may not be official for about three weeks.

“The turnout was wonderful!” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters on Wednesday. “The idea that this country was definitely going in the wrong way I think energized Democrats to come out. I think Barack Obama has ignited a lot of new voters and Hillary Clinton has brought out women, Hispanics and Asians.”

Exit polls show Clinton and Obama each drew large parts of their vote from 18 to 24 year olds, while Obama drew a commanding share of the black male vote and Clinton attracted most of the vote from white women, Latinos and other races.

Super Tuesday in New York drew more than 1.7 million enrolled Democrats, most of whom voted for candidates who would be the first woman or the first black president. Just 715,000 Democrats voted in the 2004 primary

The primary was a month earlier than usual and was part of Super Tuesday, the largest one-day set of states’ primaries that was the closest event ever to a national primary. In most past New York primaries, nominees had locked up their party’s line or were the last ones standing by the time New York voted.

The change was made with an eye toward giving a boost to Clinton, New York’s second-term senator, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who dropped out a week ago after leading the Republican field going into the nominating season.

Record numbers of New Yorkers also clogged local and state boards of elections trying to vote in the primary, even though they weren’t eligible. In New York, a voter must be enrolled in a party under strict deadlines to vote in that party’s primary. But voters reacted to other states’ laws, some of which allow open primaries in which a voter can choose a candidate from either party.

“That’s really the first time I’ve noticed that since I’ve been involved in this business, and that’s 25 years,” said Lee Daghlian of the state Board of Elections. “It was a good idea to have the primary when the race wasn’t yet decided.”

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