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Published: Tuesday, 5/2/2006

Voter turnout largely light except in Lake Local schools

BLADE STAFF

Eleven hours after voting began, Lucas County s turnout is still below normal, election officials said.

Only 14.5 percent of the county s voters had turned out as of 5 p.m. for the partisan primary, which also includes ballot issues pertaining to a pair of levies for the Toledo Zoo.

It s better than it was this morning, said Jill Kelly, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections. At 9 a.m., with rain over much of the area, turnout sat at a dismal 3.45 percent.

On average, turnout for a partisan primary is between 22 and 25 percent for the day. Election officials were hoping turnout improves and polls continue to remain open until 7:30 tonight.

Wood County reported light turnout in Bowling Green and Perrysburg, but heavy voting in the Lake Local School District, where officials were trying for the seventh time to pass a desperately needed funding request.

The Ottawa County and Fulton County boards of election could not provide an estimated turnout until the polls close.

Ms. Kelly said there were some slow starts at several polling locations she said she wasn t sure how many where several machines weren t running, and paper ballots had to be used.

By noon, however. Ms. Kelly said things were running smooth despite the fact that 50 poll workers quit yesterday, putting the board that many short of the 1,980 workers needed. Ms. Kelly said she had no trained back-up workers to take up the slack.

We were disappointed [by the amount of volunteers], Ms. Kelly said, saying it was difficult to train people last-minute.

Election workers mid-day reminded voters in precinct 18-E and 18-H that they should be voting at the former Pilkington plc research building at 1701 East Broadway. Some voters were apparently going to the new Oakdale Elementary School nearby to cast their ballots.

The county elections board now has 22 machines compared with last year s six to tally incoming votes, which are stored on cards that must be hand-delivered from the county s 1,613 computerized voting machines at 207 voting locations. Provided there are no complications, each incoming card takes two minutes to process.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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