Voter turnout varies at Suffolk precincts

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Some Suffolk precincts

such as Old Towne had very disappointing turnouts in the historic 2004 election. By 6:30 pm, just 428 of the 829 registered voters had cast their ballot, yet the Kings Fork precinct had more than 50 citizens patiently waiting for their chance to cast their votes at 7p.m.

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The long wait was worth it to most of those interviewed by the News-Herald, but to retired Army Intelligence Major Sherry Miller the long lines were &uot;ridiculous&uot;. Comparing her first civilian voting experience with her absentee voting in the military, Miller said, &uot;It’s not an efficient system. I had to wait almost an hour to vote, when some of the tables

for checking in were actually empty. There just aren’t enough workers to handle the crowd&uot;

She added that she had never missed a national election and was glad to be able to cast her ballot in Suffolk.

When questioned about the complaint, precinct chief, George Blair said that he’d be angry, too, if he had to wait so long. &uot;Certainly we could be more efficient&uot;, but the flow of the voters is not controllable. At times there were long lines waiting at a particular table to have their identity checked, but in another hour the line at another alphabet table would be long while the first one had nobody.

&uot;We have the best machines that I know of, right here in Suffolk, but there’s room for improvement, Blair added. &uot;I’d like to see each precinct have its own computer, connected to the state’s database. Then we could check out every questionable voter and tell them where they should actually present themselves to vote.

It would save a lot of time and make things more convenient for our citizens.&uot;

After a little grumbling, most people ignored the long waits and voted for a variety of reasons.