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UPDATED | Heavy turnout reported as Election Day continues #VindyVote



Published: Tue, November 6, 2012 @ 2:41 p.m.

Turnout has been heavy among Mahoning County voters today, said Joyce Kale-Pesta, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

"We've had a lot of provisionals from the city voting at the board," she said.

A voter votes using a provisional ballot if he or she has had a name change or has moved outside of his or her previous precinct.

"They can vote at their precinct or at the board and in the city, a lot of them just come here because it's closer," Kale-Pesta said.

No problems other than the usual occurrences of people not knowing what to go to vote have been reported, she said. Some voters have complained of paper ballots getting jammed in the machines. The ballots have to be fed into the voting machines, rather than forced through.

The Vindicator had reporters checking in at polling places throughout the Valley today.

Poll workers at Tabernacle Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Austintown, which houses six township precincts, said voters lined up this morning, waiting for the polls to open at 6:30 a.m.

By about 9:30 a.m., 84 of the 562 voters in Precinct 36 had voted. Presiding Judge John Oravets said there haven't been any problems and that was echoed by the presiding judges at precincts 11 and 98.

After the early voters cast their ballots, the number of those voting slowed to a steady stream, Oravets said. He expects it to pick up at lunch time and as people leaving work stop to vote on their way home.

By about 9:15 a.m. today, 40 of the just more than 200 voters in Austintown Precinct 11 had voted, but poll workers consider that a high number.

In Canfield, backups of 30 to 40 minutes were reported at the Mill Creek Metro Parks location at about 11 a.m. This appeared due in part to polling places being outfitted with one ballot scanner for every three precincts.

At Archangel Michael Community Hall on 12th Street in Campbell, everything went smoothly through the morning. By late morning there were no long lines, though a line had formed when the polls opened at 6:30 a.m.

Poll workers reported a better- than-average turnout and no problems with machines. Voting there is for Precinct 4-C, but even if you vote elsewhere, stop in for the food. The church's ladies guild, the Philoptohos Society, is selling homemade goodies as a church fundraiser. There are treats such as baklava, Greek lasagna, grape leaves, Greek gyros, little pies made of filo dough filled with cheese or spinach and koulouria, a butter cookie.

The six precincts inside St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church in Boardman saw a steady stream of voters this morning with people lined up to cast their ballots when the polls opened at 6:30 a.m.

Marianne Poprik, presiding judge at Precinct 26, said 186 people had voted by about 11 a.m. That's on top of 180 people who voted by absentee ballot before election day.

"I'm a little surprised more didn't take advantage of absentee ballots," she said.

Still, poll workers consider the turnout so far to be heavy. Eileen DiNiro, presiding judge of Precinct 33, reported 171 people voting as of late this morning. She said the process has gone smoothly thus far. She attributed some of that to a separate area where workers handle voters who have to vote using a provisional ballot such as when someone has moved.

For previous elections, provisional ballots were sorted out at each individual precinct, taking time from one of those poll workers.

DeNiro was waiting for a woman she calls a "curbside voter." The woman, who wants to come to the polls each election, is unable to get out of her car and into the building. Poll workers, one Democrat, one Republican, take a ballot to her, allowing her to vote and return to the building with the sealed ballot.

"She comes every year," DeNiro said.

At Precinct 47, 99 people had voted by about 11 a.m., said Diane Kleeh, presiding judge.

"It's been steady," she said.

In Youngstown, at 1 p.m. at St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, on South Belle Vista Avenue, officials reported 307 have voted.

At St. Christine Church on Schenley Avenue, officials said reported 764 people had voted by 1 p.m.

No lines or waits were seen at either locations.

Continue to watch Vindy.com all day for updates. Don't miss Wednesday's Vindicator for complete coverage.


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