People line up around Elkhart County to vote (UPDATED)
Posted: 11/06/2012 at 11:01 am
By: Truth Staff
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Chyniah Woods, 8, watches her mother Kesia Woods vote for the very first time at the Concord 15th precinct at Rosedale Highrise in Elkhart Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Elkhart County residents are going to the polls to wrap up the 2012 campaign. (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
Diana Nye, long-time inspector at the Concord 2 precinct in Elkhart, said turnout seemed as high as she could recall.
“This is definitely different,” she said around 9:30 a.m. today. “We have people waiting from time to time.”
When polls opened at 6 a.m., people were lined up to vote at Locke 1 and 2 precincts, said Marian Yoder, one of the judges there. Jack Shanholt, another judge there, said, “it’s going great. No glitches here” as of 9:30 a.m.
Precincts in Goshen have also seen a steady stream of enthusiastic voters through the morning.
Poll worker Terri Wentz, stationed at Shanklin Park, said about 20 people were at the doors before the doors even opened - far more than in past elections. It was the same at First Baptist Church, where Ginny Martinez said nearly 70 people were lined up waiting to vote.
“Everybody’s enthusiastic,” Wentz said. And voters are arriving knowing exactly what they want to do.
“The people are very determined when they walk in,” said Terry Snyder, inspector for Elkhart 9, said. “They know who they’re voting for.”
Overall, Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson, who oversees elections, expected turnout here of up to 60 percent, about the norm in a presidential election year.
As of around 9:30 a.m., 467 people had voted at the polling place for Concord 2 and 3 precincts at Trinity United Methodist Church in Elkhart and for a time, voters stood in a line, waiting to get a ballot. Nye expected a steady stream all day, saying she was “very pleased.”
At the Concord 12 precinct polling place at McCoy Memorial Baptist Church, also in the neighborhood off East Jackson Boulevard, 62 people had voted as of around 9:40 a.m. “For our precinct, we’re busier than we’ve been in a while,” said Kathleen Rowe, the inspector there, noting that around 50 voted there in all during the May primary. “I imagine it’ll keep up pretty good all day.”
Steady turnout was the story at Union 4 at Nappanee United Methodist Church, said Donna Graff, judge. “We had a problem with the machine, but they came and fixed it,” she said.
Christopher Anderson, deputy clerk in the county clerk’s office, said no major voting issues had emerged as of around 10 a.m.
Because many casting ballots today haven’t voted since 2008, though, poll workers are having to direct some voters to new polling sites. Prior to last May’s primary vote, the county clerk’s office revamped some of Elkhart County’s precincts, changing the numbering system and redrawing some boundaries, resulting in new voting locations for some.
Graff said voters in Nappanee had some confusion, but “people have been nice about it.”
One woman learned her driver’s license was expired at 9:45 this morning at Olive precinct 2 in Wakarusa, so she had to head for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles before she could come vote.
Overall, though, that precinct had no major problems, said Cindy Geiman, inspector. “We had probably 60 people in the first 20 minutes” once the polls opened this morning, she said.
A couple of blocks away, at the Olive 1 precinct, Linda Hartzell said things were humming along there, too. “It’s going very smooth, and I’m very pleased with the turnout,” said the inspector. “It’s been a steady, steady crowd.”
Poll workers at several spots confirmed that the morning’s confusion for some about where to vote had arisen, but that hadn’t seemed to derail the continuous flow of eager voters.
Inspectors also noted there was a significantly larger amount of early ballots.
According to preliminary numbers, 10,247 cast early ballots, mainly via mail-in ballots or at the early voting sites, which closed Monday at noon.
Reporters Justin Leighty, Tim Vandenack and Nick Wesman contributed to this story.