Some poll workers knew it would be a slow primary election day on Tuesday, so that’s why many of them brought along snacks, iPads, crossword puzzles and newspapers.
“We kinda knew that it wasn’t going to be very big,” said Pam Reinhart, a first-time voting inspector for Jackson 2 East and Jackson 2 West precincts at The Point church. “There are only so many things you can vote for today.”
A lack of races at the top of the Seymour primary election ballot Tuesday likely kept voters away from the polls, which opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 6 p.m.
Democrats did not have any races on the ballot, while the Republicans had just three races to determine nominations for city council seats.
Around 10:30 a.m., the parking lot at The Point on the east side of Seymour only contained a handful of vehicles. The voting machines weren’t being used in the gym, and the rope barrier to keep foot traffic in line wasn’t really needed.
Finally, about 20 minutes later, two women walked in and voted, making the total votes come to 30 by 10:59 a.m.
“Ladies, don’t get too bored,” one of the women jokingly yelled at one of the poll workers as she exited the building.
As of noon, a survey showed that just 3.82 percent or 271 of the 7,101 registered voters in seven precincts had voted. Four years earlier in the 2011 primary, turnout was 4.3 percent or 506 voters out of 11,196 registered voters across the city voted in the primary.
Reinhart, along with four women poll workers, manned The Point’s voting center, but found themselves with little to do.
Jan Sullivan, who has volunteered during elections for more than 20 years, said it was expected for the primaries.
Still, expectations or not, it was a long day.
“I got up at 4 a.m. to be here at 5 a.m.,” she said, adding it wouldn’t be until later in the evening after the ballots were tallied that she would be done.
Between searching the Internet and small talk among the group, another voter, Edna Jones, walked into the church gymnasium.
Jones said despite few choices on the ballot, she said it’s important to have your say.
“You have to have a voice in saying what’s going on in politics and in the country,” she said. “That’s why I do (it). I don’t always know what’s going on, but I know enough to try to make an informed decision.”
By lunchtime, poll workers at First Baptist Church near Seymour High School weren’t seeing an influx of people either.
Anthony Prewitt, voting inspector for Jackson 4 North and Jackson 5 North precincts, said just 116 people had voted there by noon.
“Normally in the morning you have a decent amount of people and by lunchtime you have about the same and then people get off work,” he said. “I would expect things to be picking up by now, but they haven’t so far.”
Poll worker Bob Prather said despite the small crowd, he said they kept entertained by eating, chatting and reading the newspaper.
He also said he had a good time with the other poll workers and saw some friends he doesn’t usually see who came out to vote.
“We see people we don’t see any other time of the year,” he said.
Whether it’s large turnout or not, Prather said voting is an important right.
“You can’t complain if you don’t vote,” he said. “It’s your civic duty; you ought to do it.”
The final turnout saw 7.13 percent or 840 of the 11,777 registered voters cast ballots.