Turnout remains light in Douglas County voting

Problems reported in Baldwin City

Michelle Eagleman and her daughter, Saya, 7, exit a poll booth at the Lawrence High School Annex. Eagleman cast her vote on Tuesday at the voting station for the 27th precinct.

Turnout was light at Lawrence and Douglas County polling precincts this morning as primary voting got under way.

At Trinity Lutheran Church, a polling place in East Lawrence, there was no line to vote at 9 a.m.

“It’s been slow,” said Mary Alexander. “We’re at 17 (voters) right now – usually by now we have more.”

Michael Shoen was one of the few voters on hand at Trinity. He said no particular issue brought him out.

“Just to vote,” he said. “That way I feel I can complain, you know?”

Down in Baldwin City, election workers ran into early morning complications with the voting machines.

The computer cards that go in the voting machines had been inadvertently switched at two locations, said County Clerk Jamie Shew, who drove to Baldwin City and corrected the problem at around 8:30 a.m.

“The cards had been mismarked,” said Shew.

Keith Campbell, Douglas County’s elections deputy, said there were no reports of problems in Lawrence.

“Things are going really well,” he said at 10 a.m. “My general impression is it’s a little slow.”

At least some good reading was getting done at the polls this afternoon.

Caleb Morse was halfway through a Dickens novel as he served as one of three poll workers at the USD 497 Administration Center, 110 McDonald Drive. There was plenty of time for reading as only 37 voters had voted as of 1 p.m. That represented about a 3.5 percent turnout rate for the precinct.

“I think we’re pretty much just getting the die-hard voters,” Morse said.

The busiest location of about a half-dozen precincts checked by the Journal-World was in West Lawrence at the Mustard Seed Christian Fellowship, 700 Wakarusa Drive. At about 1:30 p.m. there had been 150 voters, or about 9 percent turnout.

Still, poll workers there said it had been disappointing to see the lack of voters.

“A lot of people figure they will let others narrow it down and then they will vote in what they consider the real election,” said Bernadette Traiger, a poll worker at Mustard Seed.

Among the few voters who were out this afternoon, several said they were not driven to the polls for any particular issue.

“I’m just here because people should vote,” said Ruth Hagerman, who was voting at Mustard Seed.

A few voters, though, did say they had change on their mind.

“We need some new ideas,” said Janice McClure, who was voting at the Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Avenue. “I don’t want my property taxes to go up anymore and I want them to take care of the infrastructure before they worry about anything else.”

The Free Methodist polling site had 57 voters or about 3.5 percent turnout at about 1:45 p.m.

Other turnout rates at polling places checked by the Journal-World this afternoon were:

¢ Deerfield Elementary, 101 Lawrence Avenue, had 77 voters, or about 6.5 percent turnout rate at about 1:15 p.m.

¢ Cordley Elementary, 1837 Vt., had 84 voters at 2 p.m.

¢ East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th Street, had 54 voters, or about 5 percent turnout, at about 2:15 p.m.

¢ New York Elementary, 936 N.Y., had 48 voters, or about 5 percent turnout, at about 2:30 p.m.