Updated: Voter Turnout 'Heavy' in Stillwater, Oak Park Heights
What have you seen around town today? Long lines? Deals at stores or restaurants for wearing an “I Voted” sticker? Tell us in the comments section.
Voter turnout for the 2012 General Election in the Stillwater area has been incredible, election judges at Stillwater area polling places told Stillwater Patch on Tuesday.
Election judges at every polling place in Stillwater and Oak Park Heights agreed that voter turnout was very strong for the 2012 General Election. The officials are estimating at least an 80 percent turnout.
"It started heavy and hasn't let up," Orwin Carter, an election judge at First Methodist said. "People have been here the whole time. Everything is going smoothly."
Stillwater City Clerk Diane Ward echoed Carter's observations when Stillwater Patch caught up with her at Ascension this afternoon.
"It's been heavy turnout all around," Ward said. "It's been steady."
Carter said he redirected more than 15 people to other polling places Tuesday morning as a result of the redistricting.
"This used to be a polling place for Ward 2," Carter said. "Now we're Ward 1, so we're telling people to check for the changes made at polling places."
The city worked hard to get the word out to residents about redistricting, Ward said.
"Everyone had cards mailed to them in July, we notified people through their utility bill, put it on our website and it was published in all the media outlets," Ward said. "Change is hard, but with redistricting you have to make a balance."
Election judges in other precincts said the amount of people showing up to vote at the wrong place was minimal.
"It wasn't as bad as you'd think for a redistricting year," Anita Carter, an election judge at Our Saviors precinct said. "We always have people who don't know where to vote, but that's no different than in years past."
At about 6 p.m. Carter said Ward 4 Precinct 7 was at 75 percent turnout, not counting absentee ballots.
In addition to a strong voter turnout in Ward 4, Precinct 8 at Rutherford Elementary School, there were also more than 70 new voter registrations, a number Election Judge Merilyn Haak said is high, traditionally-speaking.
"That's quite good," she said. "It's always good to see that. There are a lot of young voters coming here today."
Everything has stayed on track, Haak said. There haven't been any incidents, everything has been very orderly.
Ward 3, Precinct 5 also had a had a large number of new voter registrations.
"We've had more than 300 people register to vote today," Election Judge Joni Polehna said. "It's been an unbelieveable turnout. Just wonderful."
Ward 1, Precinct 2 also kept a steady line of voters coming through the door today.
"There's a lot of 18 year olds voting for the first time," Election Judge Herb Nelson said. "They're not hard to pick out, so I congratulate every one of them."
By 2 p.m. at Trinity, Election Judge Francis Celski said the precint has already seen a 50 percent turnout, and expects another rush during the early-evening hours.
The precinct generall has about an 80 percent turnout, Celski said."There are a lot of new registered voters."
At Our Saviors, turnout is at about 70 percent as of 2:3- p.m., Election Judge Anita Carter said. There are 1,400 pre-registered voters. So far more than 1,100 votes have been cast.
Things have been going smoothly at polling places across the city, Ward said. Traffic at polling places should pick up again at about 4 p.m.
Oak Park Heights
Voter turnout at Precinct 2 in Oak Park Heights has been "incredible," Head Election Judge Guy Sederski said.
"People were lined up at 6:20 this morning and the first time we didn't have a line was 12:20 p.m.," Sederski said.
By about 4:45 p.m., the precinct had more than a 72 percent turnout including absentee ballots, Sederski said. There are 1,719 registered voters in Precinct 2, as of 4:45 p.m. 1,022 votes were cast.
Traditionally, Precinct 2 sees about an 80 percent turnout.
Over at Precinct 1, election officials said there's been a steady flow of voters all day. "There's a lot of young voters coming out today," Head Election Judge Janet said. "And that's a good thing."
"There's a lot of new registrations today," Sederski said.