Murky, rainy weather put a damper on this morning's turnout for local city and school board elections.
A Journal-World pre-noon check showed that about 5.4 percent of the 36,061 registered voters in the Lawrence's 35 precincts had cast ballots.
Today's results from the J-W check are lower than results of a check during 1991 city elections, when 9.8 percent of city voters had visited the polls by noon. By the end of the day in 1991, 28 percent had voted.
In the 1989 city primary, 9.5 percent of voters had cast ballots by late morning. About 29 percent had voted in 1989 by the time the polls closed.
During last November's presidential election, the noon turnout was about 28.7 percent in the city, with an 86 percent turnout at the end of the day. The noon turnout for the August primary was 8.1 percent, with a 26.3 percent turnout by the end of the day.
DOUGLAS COUNTY Clerk Patty Jaimes said today's rainy weather probably would keep the day's turnout down. She predicted between 20 percent and 25 percent of registered voters would visit polls.
"What we heard was some of the people who went in to vote, the poll workers reactions were `Oh, good, a voter. So I took that to mean it was a little slow compared to November,' " she said.
Polls for today's city and school board races will be open until 7 p.m.
Voters will cast ballots in primary contests for Lawrence's city commission and school board and Eudora's city council and school board.
On Lawrence's ballot, voters will decide among 12 active candidates for the Lawrence City Commission. They are Jo Andersen, Roger Browning, Doug Compton, F. Scott Dalton, Chander Jayaraman, Fred Markham, Bob Moody, Richard Payton, Bob Schumm, Milton Scott, Sam Shepley and Ken Wilson. A 13th candidate, Dolly Gasser, will be on the ballot, but has withdrawn from the race.
The eight Lawrence School board candidates are George Crawford, Michael Heffner, Renee Karr, William Kipp, Carlton Lartique, Gene Ramp, William Skepnek and John Tacha.
POLL WORKERS around the city confirmed that this morning's voting was light.
Harold Peter, a poll worker at the American Legion hall, joked, "We're giving away genuine corn whiskey" to lure voters.
Carol Gates, supervising judge at Central United Methodist Church voting place, where just 18 of 1,284 registered voters had cast ballots, also displayed a sense of humor. "I don't know if I can count that high," she said.
Her poll workers had placed bets guessing the total at the end of the day would range from 45 to 75.
Jim Owens, a supervising judge at Hillcrest School's voting place, said "We were given 500 ballots out of 1,694 (registered voters). That shows something about what the courthouse thinks. And Patty (Jaimes) is usually right-on."
The J-W pre-noon poll check today in Lawrence showed that the lowest percentage turnout was at Allen Fieldhouse, the polling place for the 4th Precinct of the 2nd Ward, where 0.17 percent (two of the 1,147 registered) had voted.
THE HIGHEST turnout was at Brandon Woods, the 13th Precinct of the 2nd Ward, where 170 of the 1,571 registered voters, or 10.8 percent, had cast ballots.
Another relatively high turnout was at Southside Church of Christ, the 7th Precinct of the 3rd Ward, where 101 voters, or 10.2 percent had cast ballots of the 989 registered.
The pre-noon turnout by wards was as follows: 1st Ward, 265 voters (5.25 percent of those registered); 2nd Ward, 901 voters (5.23 percent); 3rd Ward, 436 voters (5.73 percent); 4th Ward, 233 voters (5.6 percent); 5th Ward, 46 voters (4.06 percent); 6th Ward, 78 voters (8.04 percent).
Mrs. Jaimes said she expected the final local results to be in by 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The ballots will start coming in shortly after 7 p.m., when the polls, close, she said. People in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, she said.
An updated tally will be kept on the Lawrence and Eudora races in the rotunda area on the second floor of the Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts streets, she said.