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Voter Turnout Low This Morning

Polling places in Pine, Richland not very busy.

On a rainy, chilly morning, the primary election poll workers outnumbered voters today at Pine and Richland voting precincts.

By 9 a.m., 17 had voted in Richland's District 6 at Pine-Richland Youth Center, said Brigid Christenson, judge of elections.

"A lot of our voters are retired so they do tend to come in and vote later in the morning," said Christenson, who has worked the elections for the past eight years. "I don't expect us to be more than 25 percent (for overall turnout)."

The weather could be a factor, some poll workers said.

"It's not so bad as to keep people out," said Stuart Strickland, the appointed judge of elections for Pine's District 2. "But it's not so good as to attract them."

As of 11 a.m., District 2 had recorded 41 voters had cast their votes at Pine-Richland Stadium. 

The school board seat to represent Pine's District 2 will come down to write-in votes because no name is on the ballot. That creates a new challenge to voters not used to writing in a candidate's name on an electronic voting machine, said Strickland.

"I had one person ask me for a pen," he said.

Gloria Lott, who serves as majority inspector for Pine's District 2, said she worked elections in Shaler for 10 years before working the past eight years in Pine.

"I don't see apathy here," she said. "These people in Pine Township are very much into it." She said that interest runs from national to state to local elections.

The ballots that voters in Pine and Richland townships will see today includes seats for county offices, the township supervisors, judges and the Pine-Richland School Board.

"I think that people don't know what to do with judges and school boards -- it's harder to get people's attention" said Strickland.

But the people in those offices have a more direct impact on a person's day-to-day life than those in higher offices, he continued.

"For school boards, you're going to know in weeks or months [the impact] of decisions they make," Strickland said. For judges, the impact obviously is more immediate if you find yourself in court, he said.

Sharon Scheidemantle, the majority inspector for Pine's District 1, said the magistrate's seat is especially important to people who own rental properties. The magistrate's duties include adjudicating landlord-tenant disputes.

By 11:20 a.m., 14 people had voted in Pine's District 1, said Scheidemantle, who added this is the second election she has worked. Today's voting is very slow, she said, especially compared to last fall's election when people waited in line to cast their votes.

As a voter, Scheidemantle has not missed an election in the last 25 years or so, she said.

"I don't think I have ever missed one, I cast an absentee vote when I travel," she said. "I think every election is important. Every election impacts something."

The poll workers for Pine's District 3 said 10 people had voted as of 10:50 a.m.

Asked about the low voter turnout, one poll worker said, "This is a national disgrace." She declined to give her name, but referred to herself as a concerned North Babcock citizen.

Scheidemantle said it is important "to be a role model to your kids and neighbors" when it comes to voting.

It is fun to see the 18-year-olds come in with their parents to vote for the first time, she added. "They're so proud."

District 1's minority clerk, Pat Smith, said she votes in every election.

"You can't complain if you don't vote." 

Pine-Richland Patch is visiting polling places in Pine and Richland townships throughout the day. Keep checking back for more coverage.


Parent #2 May 17, 2011 at 06:17 PM
This is a real shame. I get very disappointed in my fellow community members who often complain, but have no idea how these local officials can impact their pocket book and therefore do not vote.

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