Elections officials: Voter turnout appears steady, doesn't match fever of 2008

2012-11-06T19:35:00Z 2012-11-07T01:18:54Z Elections officials: Voter turnout appears steady, doesn't match fever of 2008By Lauri Harvey Keagle and Marisa Kwiatkowski Times Staff Writers nwitimes.com

Ronald Williams walked nearly two miles in the 26-degree predawn hours to be one of the first in line to vote Tuesday.

"It's our civic duty to vote," the 47-year-old Crown Point man said.

Williams was one of about 40 people who waited in line before the polls opened at 6 a.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Macedonian Orthodox Church at 9700 Broadway in Crown Point.

Early crowds gave way to a steady flow of voters in many Lake County precincts. Seasoned precinct inspectors told The Times voter turnout Tuesday was not as strong as during the 2008 presidential election.

"The last presidential election, you couldn't move in here. It was wall-to-wall people," said inspector Edward Tilton, gesturing toward the nearly empty Faith Church in Dyer.

Tilton said he believes early and absentee voting contributed to the lower-than-usual turnout in his precinct on Election Day.

Lisa Sarwacinski, inspector for a precinct on Purdue University Calumet's campus in Hammond, wondered aloud if the weather kept some voters away from the polls early Tuesday afternoon.

Still, she said the voting machines in her precinct "weren't lonely for very long."

Most of the people voting said the presidential election was what pushed them to the polls.

Ronald Williams said he votes in every presidential election, but wasn't driven by any particular issue in this race.

"I want to be able to complain," Williams said. "I don't feel like I have the right to complain if I don't vote."

Carole Johnson, 61, said she votes in every election and tries to encourage others to do the same.

"My neighbor is in bed asleep right now," Johnson said early Tuesday morning. "I told him I'd pick him up and take him home but he wouldn't come. I don't get it."

Mark Mendoza, of East Chicago, said he votes in every election. Mendoza, 56, said he was particularly happy to vote for candidates for the city's first elected school board.

"It was good, a long time coming," Mendoza said.

Salina Valdez, 23, said she was much more interested in voting for president.

"I wasn't paying much attention to the schools," the East Chicago resident said. "Maybe if I had kids."

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Election Contacts

County election board and voter registration offices

Lake County Board of Elections and Registration
2293 N. Main Street
Crown Point, IN 46302
(219) 755-3795

Porter County Voters Registration
155 Indiana Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 465-3484

Dates and Times

Primary Election: May 6, 2014
Election: Nov. 4, 2014
Poll hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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