If you ever wanted to make a difference at Lawrence City Hall, today may be the day.
Based on the snow-limited activity at polling places, it appears every vote will matter in today’s Lawrence City Commission primary election.
A check of several polling places between this afternoon found polling places at or below 40 voters. Many voters appeared to have taken advantage of advance voting opportunities to cast their ballot in the days before the storm.
Even the polling place at Checkers, 23rd and Louisiana, was slow, despite having a built-in drawing card: The polling booths are right next to the beer aisle and the toilet paper shelves.
“Some people did come in and vote early this morning because they had no heat and no lights at their house, so they figured they might as well go to the grocery store,” said Gayle Matchett, an election worker at the Checkers site.
At about 2 p.m., Checkers had about 20 people who had voted at the location.
Other polling locations checked by the Journal-World in mid-afternoon also reported low turnouts. They included:
• Centennial Adult Education Center, 2145 Louisiana Street: 34 voters.
• 360 Church, 3200 Clinton Parkway: 25 voters, which penciled out to about a 2 percent turnout for the precinct.
• Good Shepherd Lutheran, 2211 Inverness Drive: 30 voters
• Mustard Seed Church, 700 Wakarusa Drive: 40 voters or about 2.2 percent voter turnout for the precinct, which normally has one of the higher turnouts in local elections.
• American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth Street: 32 voters.
Some poll workers said they actually were surprised at the number of voters who took the time to brave the weather.
“I didn’t think we would have 10 people come today, so I am pleased,” said Barbara Pitner, an election worker at the American Legion.
The workers at the American Legion estimated about half of the voters coming to the site today walked there. At least one skied there.
“He came in with his cross-country skis,” poll worker Marsha Fowler said. “He said he hit one rough spot.”
The polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight. Voters are narrowing the field of 11 Lawrence City Commission candidates down to six. The April 2 General Election will determine the three winners.