Just half of county turns out to vote

Published 3:37 am Wednesday, November 7, 2012

With absentee ballot voting at an all-time high in Lawrence County, only a little more than half of registered voters here made their voices heard at the polls this year.

According to unofficial results from the board of elections, of 49,759 registered voters, 25,769 ballots were cast, about 51.79 percent.

The Ohio Secretary of State reported, as of Monday, that 7,132 absentee ballots were submitted — 5,205 by mail and 1,927 in person.

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Individual precinct breakdowns were not available on election Night, but poll workers said they saw low and high turnouts at different parts of the county on Tuesday.

Jack Welz, central committee member for precinct 1D (area of Buckhorn to Neil streets in Ironton), said of the 237 eligible voters in that precinct, only about 60 showed up to vote.

Tim Collins and Ronald Thomas, poll workers for the 2B precinct located at the courthouse, said they saw moderate to heavy traffic for city voters.

Both men vote in the 1E precinct (Green Valley area) and said there were so many voters that the poll workers had to send for more ballots.

“That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that happening,” Thomas said.

Collins said this was his fifth or sixth election working the polls and he thought the turnout for this election was high. He also noted more young people casting their votes.

Even though he wasn’t old enough to vote, Jordan Clifton volunteered to work at the courthouse as a poll worker.

The 17-year-old from Ironton said he wanted to see how the process worked before he is able to vote.

“I wanted the experience and to know how everything works,” Clifton said.

Despite having to wake up at 5 a.m. Tuesday, the teen said he would work the polls again.

Katie Wiley, an electronic media student at Ohio University Southern, voted in a presidential election this year for the first time.

Wiley was with a crew of OUS students and faculty televising election results live from the courthouse.

“It’s kind of different and a little weird deciding the future of America,” Wiley said of voting for president.

The 19-year-old also said she felt her vote mattered.

“It’s better having the majority vote than just a few people deciding how the county should run.”

And for those who think young people don’t put importance on voting, Wiley said the younger generation must take responsibility and get in the habit of voting as soon as they can.

“We are young, but we are the future of our country,” she said.