Is It The Weather Keeping Voters Away From Polls?
by: Bill Stamps, November 8, 2011 9:11:00 pm
Election Day didn’t get off to a good start for two longtime Houston precincts. Neither Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, nor the West Gray Multi-Service Center saw very many people vote this morning.
Nat West, the precinct judge at Wheeler was almost upset.
"I don’t like what I see. I don’t like what I see in the early vote and I don’t like what happening today. And I don’t like what the weatherman is trying to bring into the situation."
West has been a precinct judge for more than a decade and is well aware of how low voter turnout can be on an off year, but he still doesn’t like it.
"Off year, on year, whatever kind of year, I am a presiding judge who expects people to vote. Too many people did too many good things for me and others to bring the ballot box to people like me."
Over at the Multi-Service Center on West Gray, Precinct Judge Marianna Cline said there wasn’t a particular issue or race drawing Houstonians to the polls.
"There are a few open council seats, but by and large there isn’t any particular race or proposition that has created lot of interest."
Cline says it’s bad enough that turnout is low, but three out of every four people coming in to vote at her precinct are at the wrong place.
Julia Maldanado saw it first hand as she collected signatures in the parking lot in order to get her name on next year’s ballot as a judge.
"That’s not good for people who are running right now. Because people don’t know where they’re supposed to go, so they need to be better educated, or we need to let them know far in advance, so they can go to the right place."
And finally I found Chris Smith, who braved the rain to go vote, but wasn’t sure who or what he was voting for.
"I almost didn’t. I just happened to be in the area. So I saw the signs and said you know I’d better vote."
Bill: "Any particular issue or any candidate, do you have a friend that’s running?"
"I have no idea what’s going on. So I won’t know until I get in there."
Although turnout was low for most of the day at the Wheeler and West Gray locations, the West Gray precinct had an early voter turnout of 45 percent, which means almost have of the people had already voted.