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Local voter turnout at 51%

November 9, 2011
By Ashley Rittenhouse - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

A little more than half of Washington County's voters turned out for Tuesday's general election.

"It looks pretty decent for an off-year election," said Washington County Board of Elections director Peggy Byers.

In total, 21,420 of the county's 41,433 registered voters, or 51.70 percent, turned out for the election.

That compares to a 51.29 percent turnout for last year's general election.

Patsy Hupp, the presiding judge for Marietta 4A and Marietta West precincts, located at the Knights of Columbus hall on Franklin Street in Marietta, said there was a pretty steady flow of people all day Tuesday.

"We did expect to be busy because of the issues and the levies and they're voting for their council members and mayor," she said.

Sandy Grady, a poll worker there, noted that there were more provisional ballots than usual.

"There are a lot of people coming out that don't vote often - that's what it tells you," she said. "We've had 10 or 12 - usually we might have one or two."

For Marietta resident Paul Howlett, 59, the senior services and mental health levies were the most important items on the ballot.

"They both make a stronger community and that's the reason I voted for them," he said.

Byers pointed out that there are still ballots that need to be counted. She said final numbers will most likely be available by Nov. 24.

"Provisionals we think is a little over 300 and there are just over 200 absentees that could possibly come in in the next couple days," she said.

Byers said there were a few issues that came up on election day.

"The biggest thing was arguing over the signs being too close to the building ... a lot of people called and complained about that (Tuesday)," she said.

Campaign signs are required to be at least 100 feet away from all polling places, according to state law.

Election board member Dennis Sipe said the locations of campaign signs at the Washington County Fairgrounds, the Knights of Columbus Hall on Franklin Street in Marietta and a polling place in the Warren Local School District were called into question.

"We went to both locations (in Marietta) and we had our measuring equipment and measured out 100 feet and found out there were a few signs within the 100 foot we moved them back," he said.

Sipe said it was determined that the single sign that was called into question at the polling place in the Warren Local School district was not in violation of the law.

"It was near the entrance so that might have been the cause of concern," he said.

Byers said there were also some voters who became upset because they heard on the radio the polls opened at 6 a.m. when in reality they opened at 6:30 a.m.

She said another issue that came up involved people calling Tuesday and requesting that a ballot be hand delivered to them because for one reason or another they were unable to fill out a ballot at their polling place.

She said there are usually one or two people who make this request on election day, but Tuesday there were about 10 of them.

She said board members took ballots to people's homes even though they weren't required to do so.

"Our board members have run all over this county," she said. "The rule is they (voters) can't do that unless they're at a hospital."

Byers noted that people who are ill, cannot drive or for some other reason cannot get to their polling place on election day should request an absentee ballot so they can fill it out in advance in their home.



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