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ELECTIONS Turnout is light



Published: Tue, May 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



There was little confusion over precinct realignment.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County voters apparently were not motivated to go to the polls this morning, as turnout was lower than election officials expected.

Michael V. Sciortino, director of the county board of elections, said he expected about a 25- to 30-percent turnout, though early numbers indicated it would be less.

The light showing meant electronic voting machines being tried in some locations didn't get much of a workout, though they received high marks from those who did use them.

It also kept a lid on confusion over changes in voting places.

Poll workers at most voting locations in Youngstown, Struthers and Poland reported only handfuls of voters in the morning, and said it was largely because there were no races or issues that excited the voters.

Struthers: Even in Struthers, where the race for city council president has been hotly contested between incumbent Michael Orenic and challenger Danny Thomas, there was little interest in the early hours.

"Our turnout is light," said Charles Jones, a poll worker for a combined precinct at city hall. The 11 voters who showed up during the first three hours were about half the number that usually shows up.

Charlene Taiclet, a poll worker at Youngstown's Precinct 3-F on the North Side, said she was a little surprised to see 22 people voting this morning, which was higher than she expected.

"We had somebody here waiting to vote at 6:30 a.m.," she said. Some voters were confused over where they were supposed to cast their ballot, but most got along fine, Taiclet said.

Fewer precincts: The board of elections was required by the state to redraw precinct boundaries to reduce the number of precincts. The board cut the number of precincts from 180 to 119 in Youngstown, Struthers and Poland.

Confusion was not a problem in Poland and Struthers because of the light turnout. Dorothy Rider, working the polls for a combined precinct at Poland Presbyterian Church, said only five people showed up this morning.

Sciortino said he expects more problems in November, when more precincts will be cut and the entire county will be affected.

The elections board used electronic voting machines at three precincts around the county today. Jones' precinct at Struthers City Hall was one of them, and he said voters loved it.

"It's very simple and self-explanatory," he said. "The machine can actually talk you through it if you need it to."

Kathleen Snier, presiding judge at Precinct 6-B at Cardinal Mooney High School, said voters gave electronic machines high marks there as well.

"Once they get in there and use it, they think it's great," she said. "Our biggest problem has been lack of parking."




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