Hundreds turn out at library for first day to cast ballots
The polls have opened, and hundreds of registered Rowan County voters visited the library headquarters Thursday to take advantage of their first opportunity to cast a ballot.
Local elections officials said the number of voters who turned out for early voting is comparable to that of the first day of early voting in a general election.
Nancy Evans, the county’s board of elections director, said 113 voters decided to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting for the primary in 2010, compared to 131 in 2012.
For the first day of early voting in the general election, Evans said 429 voted in 2010, and 1,435 voted in 2012.
By 11 a.m., poll workers said 142 voters had strolled through.
By 2 p.m., about 340 voters had stopped by.
The final tally at 5 p.m. was 387.
“Today’s voting has been steady, with lines occasionally,” Evans said. “It was a good day.”
Tight-lipped voters stepping into the library walked through both a garden of multicolored campaign signs and a crowd of smiling candidates passing out campaign materials.
“I went through and researched as much as I could. All elections are important. We’re looking to get Kay Hagan out,” said Linda Watkins. “(Our priorities) are less government and less firearms control. The health care thing has to go because it is a total mess. It is trickling down and ruining businesses.”
After casting his ballot, Claude Avery said he hopes any candidate he votes for takes every person’s priorities into consideration as opposed to only subscribing to a particular ideology.
“If I was a Democrat and I voted for a Democrat who didn’t have any concern for Republican ideas — I don’t think that is fair. I think whoever is in office should have the well-being of all the constituents in mind,” Avery said.
When he was a child, Avery said his mother instilled in him the value of being an active voter.
“I only have this one voice. If I don’t exercise that, I can’t really complain about anything that is going on in our community or our country,” Avery said.
Avery said he would like to see a change in county representation.
“We’re stagnated right now. We’re not doing anything as far as our county is concerned,” Avery said. “I don’t know if new voices would make a difference, but it would at least give us the opportunity for some new direction. That’s important, and that’s why I wanted to come out today.”
Walking out of the library, Pat Turner said she encourages other people to come out and participate in early voting.
“It’s about making sure nobody slips through the cracks. We try to encourage them to go ahead and get it done,” Turner said. “By the time the voting is over, we can make contacts to make sure everybody has come and done his or her duty.”
While many people place a heavy emphasis on voting in the presidential election, Turner said, the president has to have people at the local level who support his issues in the midterm elections.
Retired Marine John Drobinko said he came out for the first day of early voting for “peace of mind.”
“Otherwise, it will bug me until the regular day — knowing it has got to be done,” Drobinko said. “I think every single election is important. I didn’t want to come early because I’m still getting started. I usually pick up around 11 o’clock.”
For Drobinko, the right to vote is one of the greatest and most important rights a citizen has.