10/19/04 — Turnout at on-stop voting sites is larger than expected

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Turnout at on-stop voting sites is larger than expected

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on October 19, 2004 2:04 PM

Wayne County residents are enthusiastic about their right to vote. Or maybe they're ready for this election to be over.

Either way, the one-stop early voting is proving to be far more popular than county officials had hoped.

At the closing of the polling places Monday, 3,590 Wayne County residents had already voted. That equals nearly a 6 percent turnout of the 61,000 eligible voters, with nearly 10 days of early voting left.

The high turnout has caused a county official to rethink his predictions for the one-stop period. Last week, Elections Director Gary Sims was forecasting 12,000 to 15,000 voters.

Now he thinks it could be as high as 18,000. "This would be a record turnout for early voting in Wayne County," Sims said Monday night.

The Wayne County Public Library has been the most popular site, with 1,997 voters, followed by Belfast Fire Station, with 1,024 voters, and Dudley Fire Station, 569 voters.

The county will likely have a record number of voters in this election, so people who want to avoid waiting in lines on Election Day should come in now, Sims said.

People can go to any one-stop polling place. They may want to try one of the fire stations since they are less busy than the library, he said. The stations are centrally located in the northern and southern parts of the county and easy to access for many people. All three polling places are equally staffed and operate in the same manner.

Registered voters who neglected to update their addresses or other information can vote at the one-stop polling places via provisional ballots. Those ballots will verified later. People who have moved may have changed polling places or districts, Sims noted, but each one-stop site has all 25 ballot styles.

If people wait to vote until Election Day, they might go to their old polling place and then need to go to another precinct to be able to vote, Sims said. "Voting at the central locations early will avoid additional delays for the voter."

The library, 1001 E. Ash St., will be open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Belfast station, 3212 U.S. 117 North, and Dudley station, 4533 U.S. 117 Alternative South, will be open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

All three locations will also be open Saturday, Oct. 30, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. That will be the last day of one-stop voting.

Anyone with questions about elections can call 731-1411 or go to www.waynegov.com/boe.