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Voter turnout in Whitley high, but still below Clerk's expectations

About half of Whitley County's registered voters went to the polls Tuesday and cast their ballots for president overwhelmingly throwing their support behind Republican Mitt Romney, who garnered 10,232 votes in Whitley County to incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama's 2,683 votes.

Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz said she was a little disappointed with the 50.35 percent voter turnout.

"I really thought that it would be 60 maybe 65 percent," Schwartz said Tuesday evening. "Some people told me that they were expecting 65 to 70 percent turnout. It was a day that we had lines. I would have thought that we voted more than we did in 2008."

Voter turnout in 2008 in Whitley County was 54.2 percent during the last presidential election.

Schwartz said that the only Election Day problems at polling places Tuesday dealt with sporadic long lines and having to print additional ballots for four precincts.

For instance, at Corbin's Central Primary School Tuesday morning, which has two precincts inside it, voters started lining up 20 minutes before polls opened at 6 a.m.

"Some of our election officers hadn't experienced a long line at a precinct before. Sometimes there were up to 30 to 40 people standing in line at one time in some of the bigger precincts," Schwartz noted. "It makes them just a little bit nervous but they handled it real well."

The long lines were typically at precincts, which were split precincts where precinct officers first had to check to see which ballot a voter needed. Sometimes a precinct will be split with part of the residents living inside the city limits and some outside the city limits affecting what races they can vote on during an election.

Schwartz said that Spruceburg, Central Elementary, Masterstown and College Hill precincts all had to have additional paper ballots delivered because of heavy voting.

Election officers also took two additional folding tables and six additional privacy screens to College Hill to accommodate higher than expected voter turnout there.

Schwartz said that running out of paper ballots wouldn't have actually stopped the voting process because each precinct still has an electronic E-Slate voting machines, which the state is encouraging counties to use more often.

Voters with disabilities primarily use the machines, but any and all voters can use them.

"It has the same ballot as the paper ballot does," Schwartz noted.

While there were several uncontested races Tuesday in Whitley County, this doesn't mean that local residents won't be seeing a new old face in the county attorney's office and some new faces on two of the three school boards.

Bob Hammons, a one-time county attorney, was unopposed Tuesday in his bid to fill out the unexpired term of Paul Winchester, who resigned after being appointed circuit judge last year. Hammons received 10,589 votes Tuesday.

Hammons defeated interim Whitley County Attorney Don Moses and newcomer Gram Trimble in the May Primary election.
Once the results of Tuesday's election are certified, Hammons will be able to assume office.

Next year the Whitley County Board of Education will be getting one new member.

Incumbent Bobby Terrell didn't file to seek re-election in the third-district. The only candidate in that district, Malorie Gail Cooper, received 1,112 votes.

Fourth-district board member Brenda K. Hill and fifth-district board member Joe E. Jones were both unopposed. Hill received 780 votes and Jones 730 votes.

On the Corbin Independent Board of Education, incumbents Todd Childers and Angela Morris were both unopposed in their bids for re-election, and will be joined on the board next year by newcomer Stephen Mulberry. Incumbent Lynne Huff didn't file seeking re-election. Childers received 2,366 votes. Morris got 2,216 votes and Mulberry garnered 2,065 votes.

Williamsburg Independent Board of Education members Allan W. Steely and Kim Broome White were both unopposed in their bids for re-election garnering 1,036 votes and 1,115 votes respectively.

Whitley Circuit Clerk Gary Barton (11,034 votes), Commonwealth's Attorney Allen Trimble (10,346 votes) and 82nd Representative Regina Bunch (11,019 votes) were also all unchallenged in their bids for re-election.


Huh? (November 07, 2012) Reply

If 30 to 40 people, at one time, makes poll workers nerveous.......just maybe you should get someone else to do the job. Seriously? That many people should not be a major concern for anyone. Makes me wonder just how useful they are. Teachers handle that many people on a daily basis, waitresses do the same. It's not rocket science!

Just Me (November 08, 2012) Reply

Duh, get real. Teachers and Waitresses do this 5 days a week and they are use to more people, a election officer works 2 days a year and part of the time 1 or 2 of them are new to the job. Election officers have to go to election school before every election also..I know this because I worked as a officer for several years

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