BOARDMAN — Polling locations across the county were reporting steady crowds but few lines around noon Election Day.
A mix of rainy weather and the high incidence of early voting were cited for what could be considered an anticlimatic turn-out.
Some had predicted voter participation would reach 55 percent after 15,000 county voters cast early and absentee ballots in the weeks leading up to the primary. The total was more than three times higher than in the last presidential primary in 2004, said Mahoning County Board of Elections Director Thomas McCabe.
McCabe reported problem-free election morning. Very few voters requested paper ballots, he said.
“I don’t know if we’ll hit that 55 percent like we were expecting,” said Mahoning County Elections Director Tom McCabe. “We’re not seeing a big rush like we’ve seen the last week.”
Poll worker Whitney Simms was directing voters to the proper location inside St. Patrick Church, on Oak Hill Avenue, where seven precincts cast ballots today.
“I thought it was gonna be busier here,” Simms said. “I kinda figured it wasn’t going to be as packed because I saw a lot of people voted early.”
Among those casting ballots, many expressed special interest in the hotly contested Democratic race between Sen. Hillary Rodam Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who are vying for the chance to serve as the first female president or first black president, respectively.
“I like ‘em both,” said Yvette Walker, 41. “We need a Democrat right now.”
At the Boardman Township Administration Building, longtime poll worker Margaret Grace, 77, said early turnout was healthy. More voters casted ballots this morning than during the last presidential primary, she said.
“That’s interesting considering so many voted absentee,” she said.
Grace said she hadn’t heard any reports of voters being deterred by the weather.
“The rain doesn’t keep them, maybe something else. If we’d been icy ...,” she said.
Of those who cast ballots in Boardman, the majority had registered as Democrats, Grace said.
“Some people were crossing over to Democrat because they have someone locally or they have a special concern about Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Obama,” said Grace.
The Democratic primary race was a important draw for Boardman resident Barb Rauschenberg, 57, who said she is a regular voter.
“I want things to change,” she said. “I like things about both candidates and I dislike things about both candidates.”