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Voter turnout strong in region

Nov. 07, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- According to the lines at some of the polling places, voter turnout was strong for Election Day.

"We had people in line at 10 minutes to 6 this morning," said Drema Geer, who was a volunteer running the polls at Chesapeake Community Center in Lawrence County, Ohio. "It's great. It means people are really listening to politics and concerned about their country."

Voters young and old streamed in and out of polling places throughout the Tri-State.

"If you want change, you better vote. It's the only way you can get anything done," said Rusty Baker of South Point, Ohio. "A lot of people complain, complain, complain, but they don't vote. It might not do any good, but it might."

There was a little bit of a slow start in parts of Cabell County Tuesday, in places where poll workers had left voting machines in their cars overnight, said Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole. The cold machines were slow to warm up and operate properly, she said. That and the usual problem of poll workers calling off were taken care of by midday and at that point, she was just asking voters to be patient as poll workers did their best moving things along amidst the heavy turnout.

"Some of the precincts, like at Huntington Middle and Meadows (elementary school), had a big turnout. It just varies," Cole said. "I had a phone call from a voter in Davis Creek, where there are two polling places. One had a line, and one didn't have any."

Nearly 7,800 early voters foreshadowed a good overall turnout, she said, as 32,928 voters cast ballots in Cabell County, with 71 of 71 precincts reporting late Tuesday night. That is 53 percent registered voters.

"In early voting, we surpassed the 2008 general election by a few hundred votes, and you have nice weather," she said. "People aren't leery about getting out. We anticipated the heavier turnout."

Eva Motley of Huntington voted at the Senior Life Enrichment Center with her grandchildren on her mind.

"One is getting ready to turn 9, and one is 10," she said. "It's for them. It would be good if some of these younger parents voted. I didn't vote in my 20s either, but you get older and you start wising up and learning more about the economy and think, 'Maybe I should go vote.'"

By 9:30 a.m., about 225 people had cast votes in Chesapeake, which is a great pace compared to the usual, said voter Mike Curry.

"This turnout is huge up here," he said. "The economy is a huge issue -- everyone knows it's the economy and our debt."

Lawrence County voters cast 25,769 ballots on Tuesday, meaning a turnout around 50 percent.

Whether it was the sunny weather, the issues facing the country or Ohio's key role in the tight presidential election, it seemed to be a lot busier than in 2008, Geer said.

"We've been busy the whole time, with people waiting in line to mark their ballots. I've never seen that before," she said.