A line at Disney World? Voters surprised by lines at polls

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 4:27 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Elections officials in the tri-county area say they’re very happy with voter turnout for Tuesday’s mid-term election.

At polling places in Jefferson County, people had to stand in lines they’d never seen before. Turnout is up more than 600 voters compared to the last mid-term election.

One person said it looked like a line at Disney World. But it was the line to vote just after 6 p.m. at the Life Church of the Nazarene in Watertown Tuesday.

“I didn’t expect - I thought I’d just breeze in and breeze out. I didn’t expect to see this line out here,” said voter Olin Warren.

At one point, an extra printer was delivered to alleviate the rush.

“Whether it was the lunch rush or the after-work, before-dinner rush or after-dinner rush, I think most of the stuff got managed in a way that people were not standing in line for, say, hours on end,” said Jefferson County Republican Elections Commissioner Jude Seymour.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 31,334 votes had been counted in Jefferson County. That’s about 54 percent of active registered voters.

Some affidavits and absentee ballots are still waiting to be counted.

The voter turnout for the last mid-term election was 30,673. So far, that’s a difference of 661 voters.

Jefferson County Democratic Elections Commissioner Michelle LaFave says despite some of the wait times, she’s “over the moon” about the turnout.

“The response that I got from most of the voters that had stayed in line, they were like, ‘I waited for half an hour and it was absolutely worth it,’” she said.

Seymour says there were a lot of hotly contested races in this year’s mid-term including the much-talked-about race between Governor Kathy Hochul and Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.

LaFave says issues like gun rights and inflation could have also contributed to the numbers.

Voters we spoke with at the polls Tuesday say they wanted to make their voice heard.

“This is a very important one I think for our state, considering the dramatic choices we have to make, and I think it’s time to change,” said voter Beti Ann Honan.

It’s likely the voter count for Jefferson County will get higher. Both Seymour and LaFave say they expect more absentee ballots to be delivered in the coming days.

In St. Lawrence County, voter turnout is nearing numbers from 2018 which was when the last mid-term election took place.

Between absentees that have currently been scanned, early voting numbers, and Tuesday’s numbers, 52 percent of voters affiliated with a party in St. Lawrence County cast their ballot.

Democratic Elections Commissioner Jennie Bacon calls it a decent turnout.

“I was not surprised. We’re always prepared for a 100 percent turnout. Obviously we know we’re never going to get a 100 percent turnout, but we’re always prepared for every voter to show up at the polls,” she said.

In Lewis County, 10,670 people voted in this years’ election. That’s up about 1,200 from the last mid-term election in 2018.