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Slow Your Poll

Voter turnout low during Tuesday Primary, but those who made it out want to see change in their communities

It was a low turnout across Montgomery County today, with incredibly low numbers at the North Penn YMCA and Penndale Middle School in Lansdale Borough.

The YMCA, polling location for Ward 1-3, had about 50 voters by 6 p.m. Penndale, polling location for Ward 1-2, had about 57 voters two hours before polls closed.

Nancy Frei, inspector of elections for Ward 1-1 in Lansdale, said turnout was lower than expected.

York Avenue, polling location for Ward 3-3, fared better with more than 250 voters by 6 p.m.

"I haven't heard specific numbers from the other districts, but from what I understand, we're experiencing a much better turnout (at York Avenue) than the other locations," said Denton Burnell, Democratic candidate for Ward 3 Lansdale council. "It's been a slow day in general. Well below average for a primary."

There was a late rush of voters at the polls at Montgomery Township's administration building.

Overall, the low turnout can be attributed to bad weather, a lack of contested races and an off year for elections.

"I think it says a lot about the lack of understanding of the races in the area," said Paul Unger, unendorsed Republican candidate for North Penn School Board. "People need to get more involved on the local level, because a local level race has more impact on a resident's life than voting for the President of the United States."

A big issue at the polls was the school district budget.

"I'd like to see more creativity, and more openness to finding a creative solution for the financial issues our school district is facing," said Unger.

Unger said he supports the teacher and taxpayers, but what he really supports, is the students.

"We're not going to get anywhere by cutting programs, cutting teachers, or raising taxes. All of those solutions have negative consequences," Unger said. 

Amanda Koehler, of Mongomeryville, voted mostly Democrat in the primary.

"There were a few exceptions," she said.

Koehler said people don't take the primaries seriously.

"Which is a shame because it determines whose name is placed on the ballot," she said. "Local politics greatly affect what happens in your town."

Will Simcox May 18, 2011 at 01:04 PM
"Amanda Koehler, of Mongomeryville, voted mostly Democrat in the primary." In a primary election you are choosing between candidates from your party to run in the general election in November. She had to choose all Democrats or all Republicans. Just sayin'
Kyle Bagenstose May 18, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Actually Will, many times candidates from either party will cross-file to give themselves as many chances as possible in the primary. They'll appear on both ballots, but they're still registered for one party or the other, and people know that. So, a voter could recognize someone on their ballot as actually being a member of the other party, and not vote for them. Perhaps that's what she meant?
Will Simcox May 18, 2011 at 04:31 PM
That is true, a few were on both tickets yesterday. That is what she must have meant...

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