Few voters turned out to cast ballots

Kathie Zipp

Poll workers don’t see many students

At the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, students ran around the indoor track. Below, teams shot hoops on the courts.

At the end of a long hall was a room with a panel of four people wearing red, white and blue name badges. They were reading the paper, doing a Sudoku and working on the day’s crossword puzzle. Other than an electronic polling machine, the room was empty.

“We’ve had seven people come vote since we opened at 6:30 a.m.,” poll worker Fred Skok said at 11 a.m.

Skok was off yesterday because he works as a teacher at Kent city schools, which also had the day off to host voting. He’s been working the polls for the last few years after a friend asked him to do it.

Skok said the lack of voters is not uncommon for this precinct.

“Most of the residents here are temporary since they’re Kent students,” he explained. “The few people we do get are local, permanent residents. “

Rebekah Crapo, a sophomore pre-nursing major, is one Kent State student who did make it to the polls.

Crapo said she thinks most students don’t vote in non-presidential elections because they don’t take the time to understand the issues, but she added that voting “only takes a minute.” Crapo said she’s especially interested in Issue 3, concerning building casinos in Ohio.

“First of all, we need the money,” she said. “And second, it’s fun. I’m only a year away from being able to enjoy them, too.”

Skok said this precinct usually sees about 20 voters during the 13-hour day.

Just down the street, there’s a bit more activity. Poll workers at the Presbyterian Church on Summit Street said they saw about 70 voters in the first five hours.

“It’s just enough to keep you too busy to read a book,” poll worker Merylin Hodar said.

The United Methodist Church on Main Street has more student residents than any other precinct. Yet, poll workers still said they’d seen very few students.

Workers said there had been a shortage of poll attendants overall this year. Though the reason is unknown, one poll worker suspected it could have been due to the flu outbreak.

After the polls closed at 7:30 p.m., the day was not over for poll workers. They still had to tape the paper printout of the precinct’s voting results to the door of the voting location. Then they were required to travel by twos to deliver results to the Portage County Board of Elections.

It’s a long day of work for $100. But most poll workers feel it’s their duty to give their time.

“It’s a privilege to vote,” one poll worker at United Methodist said. “It’s our civic duty to be here working.”

Contact public affairs reporter Kathie Zipp at [email protected].