Presidential race attracts huge crowd Obama wins a second term; received 4,157 votes locally
By: RICHARD REITZ Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Review There was a clear consensus at the local polls on Election Day.
Indeed President Barack Obama was re-elected, along with several local incumbents but it was the crowds and lines at local polling places which may have shown the greatest consistency Tuesday.
Voter turnout was as strong as any previous presidential election, and the voters seemed to know what they were going to do.
"People really seemed to know who they were voting for when they came in," said Janice Breneman, a Republican greeter at the Clay Township Municipal Building. "I saw a lot of people today that I’ve never seen here before in my 10 years of doing this, and certainly the most people I’ve seen since the last presidential election."
"We’ve seen a very good turnout," added Glenda Poole from Adamstown. Alecia Kloiber said they had about 300 voters through by 11 a.m., "which is remarkable for our little Adamstown."
She credited the presidential election for the high turnout, but added, "Remember, there is no ‘off year’ in the election cycle," Alecia said.
As is historically the case locally, the Republican ticket dominated Tuesday’s results. Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney claimed 8,863 votes to Obama’s 4,157 in the Ephrata area, while Congressman Joe Pitts, as well as Representatives Mindy Fee and Gordon Denlinger emerged with victories (see sidebar graphic).
Voters at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ephrata were surprised that they had an unexpected wait time. Beth Garner said she waited 45 minutes to vote, which caught her off guard since she came before lunchtime.
But she stayed to vote for her candidates that she felt would address the issues she feels are most important. "There just don’t seem to be a lot of jobs out there for people," Beth said. "It’s hard for a lot of people. Something has got to change."
Jim McKeown also waited 45 minutes to vote at Trinity Lutheran. They were both unfortunately on the wrong side of the alphabet, as the line was split between the last names beginning with A-N and those beginning with O-Z. There were fewer people on the lower side of the alphabet when they arrived.
"This is why I think we need to have early voting in Pennsylvania," Jim said. He stuck with the line and cast his vote… although he expressed his disappointment in how negative the campaigns were this year.
"There was just too much negative stuff," he said. "If you could say anything nasty, you would say it. No fact checking, and it didn’t seem to matter if it was true or false. And it was on both sides."
He said that after Hurricane Sandy, he would’ve preferred it if those politicians took their ad money, and instead put it all toward disaster relief funds.
Tim Fry was a little more pessimistic about his choices in this year’s election.
"They are both globalists," he said of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. "They don’t have America’s interests in mind." But he came out to cast his vote anyway "I have no choice, other than not voting. But I’m mainly here to vote for the state elections."
Ginny DiIlio, presidents of the Guy K. Bard Democratic Club and a poll worker at Trinity Lutheran, said that the lines had been steady all morning, with an hour long wait not being uncommon. There were close to 600 voters already by noon, which she called "an incredible turnout."
She said something should be done to help ease the wait time, first joking that people should get a buzzer like they give to patrons at Olive Garden, so they can leave and then come back to vote when they are buzzed. "But I do think that mail-in ballots are something that should be considered in the future, and would speed up the process."
Ginny has been volunteering at this poll for over 10 years, and she said this seemed to be a stronger turnout than previous presidential elections.
"The population in this area is growing and people are engaged; taking it seriously," she said. "That’s great to see."
A voter at Akron Fire Hall named Mary said she came out to support the candidates who share her views on issues such as healthcare, abortion and taxes. "My hope is that the Christians came out and voted today," Mary said.
Dennis Fulmer, judge of elections at the Akron Fire Hall polling location, was very pleased with the turnout. By 12:45 p.m., 370 voters had passed through.
"It has been very busy, and people have been very pleasant to one another," Dennis said. "I’ve been particularly surprised by the numer of young people voting today. This election seems to have really spurred an interest in voting."
He said he even talked to an 80-year-old woman who had never voted before, but said she made the decision that she now wants to start voting. "I told her that we can get her started so that she’s ready to vote in the next election."
One race which was not on the front page graphic involved the Representative in the 43rd District, which includes Akron Borough. In that race, Republican Keith Greiner received 1,238 votes to top Democrat John Weigel (564). More ELECTION, page A18