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Voters keep local polling places busy

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Elizabeth Caster, left, casts her vote at the Suisun City Library Tuesday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

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From page A5 | November 07, 2012 | Leave Comment

FAIRFIELD — Frustration, dedication and accommodation met voters at some local polling places Tuesday.

Tanicha Jones dropped by the Kroc Center in Suisun City, only to discover that was not her polling place. Jones said she didn’t get a sample ballot and was hoping poll workers could get her to the right place.

From there it was on to the neighboring Suisun City Library, another polling place. And, if that wasn’t the right place, Jones hoped those poll workers would make another suggestion.

Within the first three-plus hours, more than 350 people had voted in the three precincts at the Kroc Center.

“We had a line out the door starting at 7 a.m.,” said poll worker Wayne Monger.

Melinda Lillis stopped by the Kroc Center at about 9:30 a.m. to vote and saw a line that went out the building and down the sidewalk. She decided to return about an hour later, when the line was much shorter. She figured she’d be there for about 30 minutes.

The last time Tim Brown voted, he had to cast his ballot outside in the rain. Brown is in a wheelchair and the polling place was not accessible.

Inside the Kroc Center he had plenty of room to move around.

“This is great,” said his wife and care provider, Denise Brown. “These newer buildings are up to code.”

Suisun City Council candidate Lori Wilson stood next to the Kroc Center parking lot on Pintail Drive. She said she planned to stay there until the polls closed. Wilson said she wanted to make sure she gave her campaign her all.

Dory Woodstrup was in and out of her polling place in less than five minutes at Fairview Elementary School. Like many voters, she was happy the campaign was winding down.

“I just hope people calm down now,” she said. Regardless of who is elected to lead America, “it’s not going to be the end of the world,” she said, and the winner’s term would be up again in a few years.

More than 160 ballots and 30 provisional ballots had been cast by 11:30 a.m.. There were three people in line when the door opened at 7 a.m.

“It’s been steady ever since,” said Richard Mann, a poll worker.

At Fairfield Christian Reformed Church, voters reported the process taking about an hour.

“This is the first time I’ve experienced a line,” said Diana Flores. “That’s good.”

Duey Butler said he spent an hour in line there.

“I’d prefer it didn’t take so long,” he said. “I’ve got other things to do.”

But he didn’t want to return later to vote.

John Salinas arrived there about 11:15 a.m.

“I may have to come back after my (golf) game,” he said. “I’ve got a noon tee time.”

The Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield served as two polling places Tuesday.

Dewey Ford of Fairfield arrived there midafternoon decked out in a President Barack Obama T-shirt. Precinct inspector Ray Barker told Ford that he could not wear the shirt inside the twin precincts.

They reached an amicable compromise: Ford went outside, turned the shirt inside-out and returned to vote. After casting his ballot, he went outside and turned the shirt rightside-out.

The situation left him nonplussed.

“It was just surprising to me. It was something I wasn’t aware of,” Ford said of the legal prohibition against campaigning within close proximity of polling places. “It wasn’t a problem. He explained it very well to me.”

Barker said he would have done the same for anyone who arrived sporting similar partisan items of clothing that favored GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

The dual polling place saw a steady stream of voters midafternoon, but it was not possible to determine how many ballots had been cast: A voting machine stopped working after the 155th ballot, so ballots were being placed inside the machine so they could be counted later.

John Gardner, deputy registrar of voters for Solano County, said his office fielded the usual Election Day calls, such as “where do I vote?”

“It’s the volume we expected for a presidential election,” he said.

Gardner said he heard that many polling places were busy when they opened. But things had tapered off. By noon, the first bag of provisional ballots had already been filled.

He had not heard of the hour wait at the Fairfield church but said he hoped it was “just a rush of voters.”

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or amaginnis@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
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