Voter interest high as historic election season winds down

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By Jenny Hartley

Long lines are expected on Tuesday, as voters get the chance to choose not only a new president, but local politicians to represent them as well.

Precincts are expected to be packed with voters who are participating in a presidential election that will make history with either the first black president or the first woman vice president emerging as the winner.

According to county election official Cassie Stump, there are 44,191 registered voters in Lancaster County. Stump said the state Election Commission is predicting a 70 percent voter turnout, which could translate into a long wait time for voters at the precincts.

"They're saying we're going to hit between 60 to 70 percent, which is a load," said poll worker Joe Ramsey of Indian Land. "At Pleasant Valley II, that would be about 1,600 voters. It means you're going to have to put 140 people an hour through the polls. It's a hard day's work."

Save time on Election Day

Voters should take time prior to the election and become familiar with the candidates, as well as the explanations of the proposed state constitutional amendments. New residents are encouraged to know where their polling places are ahead of time.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and will remain open to 7 p.m. If you are in line when the polls close, you can still vote. If you want to expedite the election process and avoid crowds, vote during non-peak times of 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Have your driver's license or voter registration card ready, so poll workers can look you up in the books.

There will be hand-outs available explaining the amendments at each polling place.

"That's what slows people down 'the lawyer-ese' on the amendments," Ramsey said.

Absentee voting

Voters have until 5 p.m. Monday to cast an absentee ballot.

They must first qualify for one of 17 requirements for absentee voting, which include being a member of the armed services, having a physical disability, living outside the country, serving jury duty or working on Election Day. Voters must bring with them either a driver's license, a state Highway Department-issued ID or a voter registration card, and will have to sign a document that states the reason they are casting an absentee ballot.

Wrong ballots mailed

County Election Commission Chairman Rick Crimminger said the wrong absentee ballots had been mailed to a few voters. Crimminger said he's heard about 10 complaints about wrong ballots, and believes the situation has been corrected.

ZIP code not an issue

Indian Land received a new ZIP code last year, and some residents may not have changed their driver's licenses or voter registration to reflect it. Stump said that wouldn't be an issue. Each voter is listed by street address, not ZIP code.

For details about voting, call the county Voter Registration office at 285-2969.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or (803) 283-1151

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