Low turnout makes for long day at polls

With hours to go before voting ended at 6 p.m. in Tuesday’s municipal election, poll workers at voting sites in Seymour were trying to find things to do to occupy their time.

Shirley Reichenbacker came prepared with a Better Homes and Garden magazine, a book she’s reading and a search-a-word puzzle book.

Her co-worker, Doug Gregory, kept busy by checking the Internet on his smartphone.

But with more than 12 hours to sit and wait for people to vote, it made for a long and less-than-exciting day, they said.

Low voter turnout for the Redding Seymour and Jackson 1 East precincts at Calvary Baptist Church was disappointing but expected, they said.

By 11 a.m., just 40 people had cast their ballots. In last fall’s election, Gregory said they had more than 300 votes tallied by the same time.

This year, he’d be surprised if they had that many people show up all day, he said.

Many of the paper ballots went unused.

“There’s just not a lot of interest, because there aren’t many contested races,” Gregory said. “People just don’t care.”

One voter said there needs to be a scam or a scandal to get people to pay attention and be interested in the election, Gregory said.

Both Reichenbacker and Gregory have spent many election days together as poll workers.

“It’s been so many, I don’t even know how many,” Reichenbacker said. “Dr. Ripley got me started as a poll worker because they were having trouble finding people to do it.”

And sadly, that’s still the case today, she said.

“People don’t want to take the time because you have to get here early, around 5 a.m. and you’re here until after 6 p.m.,” she said. “It makes for a long day.”

However, with the company of Gregory and the other poll workers, Reichenbacker said she enjoys election day.

“We have a good group here and plenty of time to talk,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.