Voter stream remains steady at polls

Butler County voters were out in force Tuesday to cast votes in the battleground state.

Voters were at polling spots before the doors opened, said Jocelyn Bucaro, deputy director of the Butler County Board of Elections.

Bucaro said there was a 30-minute line at the board of elections officeon Princeton Road.

“We had lines at most polling locations at 6:30 a.m.,” she said. “Lines have quieted down and there’s a steady stream.”

Bucaro said she anticipated 175,000 voters in Butler County casting a ballot this presidential election through absentee and in-person voting. She said 46,387 absentee ballots were cast in the county.

Erin Allen who was at the polling place at the Board of Elections Tuesday morning said she always votes and she wanted to cast her ballot on election day. She is looking for change.

“I’m certainly not missing it (the election) I knew nothing would keep me away from here,” she said.

In Monroe, voter turnout was so heavy in the morning hours at fire department headquarters, on Ohio 4 that a police officer had to be dispatched around 8 a.m. to handle traffic congestion problems, said Monroe police Lt. Brian Curlis.

Curlis said the parking lot at the fire station was full and voters were parking on the side of Ohio 4, causing traffic obstructions for motorists trying to leave the busy polling spot.

Voters in a small section of Butler County voted with paper ballots after a glitch left the Northwest School District levy off the electronic ballot, according to election officials.

Jocelyn Bucaro, Butler County Board of Elections deputy director, said 69 voters were affected.

Linda Hartenstein and Paula Warnken, who worked the polls at the Countryside YMCA in Lebanon, reported that voter turnout had been very steady all morning.

“It’s the busiest election I’ve ever seen,” Warnken said. “I thought we would maybe have less people because so many went to early voting but that’s not the case.”

The polls were “swamped” for the first 2 1/2 hours, Hartenstein said but had slowed down a little by 11:30 a.m. The pollsters reported 275 people having voted at their precinct by 11:30 a.m.

Voters in Fairfield city and township came out for both the president and the Massachusetts governor, for a variety of reasons.

“I voted for the next president of the United States, Mr. Romney,” said Pat Markey, making a prediction after voting at Fairfield North Elementary School in the township. “I think we need change, just like Mr. Obama said. I think we need to put people back to work.

Robert Hartshorn, who said he was a Republican, hoped that Romney would “repeal the health care, not allow any taxes to go up and take care of all the energy problems we have in this country.”

Kyle Osborne of the township said, “As far as the presidential race goes, the two candidates want to do the same things for the country, but I feel like my opinions of government and social issues align a little bit better with the Republican party than the Democrat … to the extent the president has any power over this, I’d like to see the economy growing a little faster than it has been and unemployment to come down a bit. I’m not terribly concerned with the deficit because I know that as the economy improves, the deficit will improve.”

At Fairfield Middle School, Donald Crew said, “I support Obama and everything he believes in. My family is behind the president, so that’s what I follow. Hopefully he’ll get this economy going and get the job rates up so everybody can have a job.”

Cristina Kidd, also of Fairfield, was an undecided voter right up to the very last day.

“I’m one of those last-minute people. I’m pretty confident who I’m going to vote for, but I vote according to my conscience and there are some things I’m not going to waver on, like public assistance, Medicare and Medicaid. The bottom line is (some) stereotype people and say that everyone on public assistance is just abusing the system, and that’s just not the facts. I know several friends of mine who had a hurdle to jump over. They did it, had a little bit of help for awhile, and now they have great careers, beautiful families and they are successful people,” she said.

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Staff Writer Justin McClelland contributed to this story.