Turnout big in Isle of Wight

Published 1:56 pm Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump takes Isle of Wight, election

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The tense election and blue skies brought a multitude of voters to the polls in Isle of Wight County Tuesday.

There were 96 people in line when poll workers opened the doors at The Smithfield Center Tuesday morning, said precinct chief Julia Winslett.

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One early voter, who arrived shortly after 6 a.m., found the line stretching down the hall of the center.

“We were hopeful, but we knew it,” he said of the line.

For many voters, the process went off without a hitch. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“It was smooth,” said Shannon Moore, who cast her ballot at the Carrollton precinct at Carrollton Nike Park.

While there was some national concern of voter intimidation by party representatives monitoring at the polls, Moore said she felt none whatsoever.

Each party and each independent candidate was permitted one representative during the day to stand behind the poll workers, according to county Electoral Board Secretary William Bell.

Similar to Moore, D.J. Givens said he did not run into any problems as he cast his ballot in Carrollton.

“There was no intimidation or tension in there at all,” Givens said.

Jerry Carter likewise said that his voting experience was “great.”

“It was nothing like what I’ve seen happening on TV,” Carter said.

While the inside of the polling stations seemed relatively orderly, parking outside of them posed an issue for some.

Voters in the Pons precinct packed the small, narrow parking lot of Mt. Tabor Church of God, making it difficult to maneuver in and out of the congested site.

With only one electronic ballot available at Mt. Tabor, multiple Pons precinct voters opted for the at times quicker option of paper.

At many of the precincts around the county, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief that the election was coming to an end.

“I am always privileged to be in a democratic society, but I’m glad it’s over,” said Lynda Leech, who cast her ballot in The Smithfield Center Tuesday afternoon. “You get tired of the negativity involved in a campaign.”

Joe Puglisi with the local Democratic committee and Pat Clark with the Isle of Wight County Republicans, handed out their respective flyers across from each other at the entrance to the polls in Carrollton.

Both said they had seen a large number of voters filtering in and out of the polling place.

“I haven’t seen lines that long in 10 or 12 years,” said Clark.

Puglisi likened the long lines to ones he’d witnessed during Barrack Obama’s election in 2008.

When entering the polling place at Nike Park Tuesday morning, the lawn was loaded with Donald Trump signs. Though there were a few signs for Congressman Bobby Scott (D-3rd), the location’s lone Hillary Clinton sign was positioned in front of Puglisi’s table.

“This is the last one,” Puglisi said. The other Clinton signs Democrats planned to use for the polling venue were stolen last week, according to Puglisi.

“It was rather infantile behavior,” Puglisi said of the theft. However, the county’s Democratic Committee, chaired by Debra Church, decided not to file a report about the stolen signs, according to Puglisi.    {/mprestriction}