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Few problems reported from Tuesday polling

POSTED: November 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Alena Parker/

Voters line up to use the touch-screen voting machines at one of Liberty County's polls.

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As local election officials predicted, Liberty County voting patterns matched national trends, including a large, early-morning boom followed by steady afternoon poll traffic.
Supervisor of the Liberty County Elections Office Ella Golden said Tuesday afternoon she was very pleased with how smoothly things were running and relieved none of the precincts reported major problems.
At noon, county numbers were inching toward the 4,000 mark, which according to Golden, are high compared with other elections. More than 8,000 absentee and early votes were cast in the county in the weeks leading up to Tuesday.
Golden said she heard from many residents who wanted to know where precincts were located. She also said a lot of people didn't know about registration deadlines.
"A lot of people didn't do their homework," Golden said. "Some people didn't know they needed to register before by the Oct. 6 deadline and some didn't even know they needed to register in order to vote."
Other Liberty County elections officials agreed that, for the most part, people seemed to be having good experiences. Dorchester precinct poll worker Alice Travis said things went well at the District 1 polling place.
"No machine problems, no bad problems at all," Travis said.
She said the usual early morning crowd -- though larger than she could remember -- cleared out pretty fast.
"It's been steady through the afternoon since then. Smooth and steady."
Many local candidates spent the day at and around the polls, campaigning from a legal distance, encouraging residents to vote and hoping to sway a few undecided minds.
On Tuesday afternoon, after visiting all of the Liberty County precincts, sheriff candidate Mark Floyd said he was waiting to see what would happen.
"I'm not overconfident. I haven't rented a room for a victory party. I'll be at home, waiting for election results," Floyd said.
Opponent and incumbent Don Martin said there wasn't much he could do Tuesday, but he felt he'd run a solid campaign.
"We've done everything we can," Martin said around 5 p.m. "I feel pretty good."
Candidates for school board seats - the other local, contested races - also busied themselves Tuesday canvassing the community. Long-time resident and candidate in District 2t, Carolyn Smith-Carter, who waved at voters on Highway 84 all day, said whether or not she wins, she is thrilled to be a part of the process.
"I compare this election to the Kennedy election, which was the first time I voted. The feeling and the enthusiasm I feel is the same, but heightened by like times 80," Carter said. "It brings tears to my eyes. It's just so unbelievable."
As for the race, Carter said she got a lot of positive responses from residents when she visited polls.
Carter's opponent, incumbent Charlie Frasier, also was excited about being part of the election, although he admitted it's tiring.
"This is a great day in history for me and for America as well. I'd like to thank all the people who voted for me," Frasier said. "I'm ready to continue to work in the education arena and will work with any new members. We've made lots of accomplishments and if elected, I'd like to continue to make Liberty County Schools the best."
As for the voters, some were frustrated with the long lines, but most were in good spirits as they cast their ballots.
Lynn Pace waited in a line that snaked in and out of the Allenhurst City Hall during the poll's opening hour, but said she was happy to be waiting in the line because that meant people were voting.
"I love people voting," she said. "I'm just glad to see people voting."
Pace said she has not missed an election since she was old enough to vote. She didn't want to talk specifics, but said issues that cropped up in the United States during the past eight years motivated her to make her voice heard.
"Anybody who wins has to be better than it was," Pace said. "This vote is very important. I think it's important to the world."
On the other side, Victor Butler, 24, was voting for the first time.
"I just felt like there's a need to vote now more now than ever," Butler said.
Butler, who stood in line outside with about 20 others at the Allenhurst precinct around 7:15 a.m., said she was surprised there weren't more young voters out.
"I'm disappointed. It could be longer," Butler said.

Courier staff writers Alena Parker and Joe Parker Jr. contributed to this report.
 

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