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Voting is smooth but sparse in Lodi

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Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 10:00 pm

Local poll workers said Tuesday's election appeared to go off without a hitch, although they were surprised by what appeared to be a low voter turn-out.

"We usually hit 60 to 80 percent, but we're probably not even going to hit 50 percent," said Linda Reichert, who has been working polls in Lodi for 10 years.

She and three other workers were stationed in a garage on Brandywine Drive, in a precinct of about 600 registered voters. By Tuesday afternoon, they had yet to see 100 voters pass through, though they didn't know how many more were voting absentee.

The same appeared to be true in Galt, where Gail and Larry Dickson have been manning the polls for more than 15 years.

Their precinct of 1,531 voters was believed to be the largest in Galt, and sometimes the Dicksons have seen lines stretching down their street and around the corner - even in the rain.

"We're doing well, but not as busy as we thought it would be," Gail Dickson said.

Primary elections bring out fewer voters than general elections, especially if local issues and city council races aren't on the ballot.

Which presidential candidate did you vote for?

Voters asked at local polling places.

Lori Schwarze

Voted for: Mitt Romney. "He has the best views on the economy and will do the best job."
Lori Schwarze, Galt

Thomas Dalton

Voted for: Mitt Romney. "I was bummed that Fred Thompson was out of the race. … I voted for Romney for moral reasons."
Thomas Dalton, Galt

Mark Huft

Voted for: Mitt Romney. "He's the most conservative."
Mark Huft, Galt/Acampo

Rick Tucker

Voted for: Mitt Romney. "I like everything he stands for."
Rick Tucker, Acampo

Kathleen Gardner

Voted for: Mitt Romney. "He's got good potential for our country and he's got good Christian values. … I'm from a military family and I want our troops to come home."
Kathleen Gardner, Galt

Robin Knox

Voted for: John McCain. "He's been a candidate before and has the experience. He's pro-life and I think we need to take care of the littlest people in our country."
Robin Knox, Woodbridge

Hamdah Nassar

Voted for: Ron Paul. "I like his stances on following the Constitution, limiting powers and eliminating the federal tax. … I actually re-registered as a Republican so I could vote for him."
Hamdah Nassar, Lodi

Carolyn Hall

Voted for: Hillary Clinton. "Bill (Clinton) has been in office before, and I thought he did a good job."
Carolyn Hall, Lodi

Brandon Sywassink

Voted for: Barack Obama. "I don't think the world is ready for a woman president and I thought Barack was a pretty good choice."
Brandon Sywassink, Acampo

Jose Flores

Voted for: Hillary Clinton. "I'm more familiar with both of them (Bill and Hillary Clinton) than the other candidates."
Jose Flores, Lodi

Sally Osier

Voted for: Mike Huckabee. "I voted for Huckabee but at this point I'm wishing I had registered as a Democrat and voted for Hillary. … I don't agree with Huckabee on some of the issues - I'm a big advocate of a woman's right to choose so that was a negative, but I thought he was the best of the Republicans."
Sally Osier, Lodi

Chris Fekkers

Voted for: John McCain. "I'm a Republican; my parents voted for him so they influenced me. … I get extra credit in my history class if I vote."
Chris Fekkers, Lodi

But plenty of people did take time to fill in the circles on their paper ballots, including Lodi resident Sally Osier, who had strong opinions about four state propositions that allow four Southern California Indian tribes to build thousands of slot machines.

"I grew up in Idaho and I remember what gambling did to the middle class and lower income people who would often gamble away the family's money," she said, adding that she also saw many economic changes when a race track opened near her next home in California.

As for presidential candidates, she waffles on those options and sometimes changes party registrations so she can vote for certain people in the primaries. She was a bit disappointed by the lack of lines at the Lodi Grape Festival grounds, where she voted.

"I just get frustrated when people don't vote," Osier said.

Some people made a fast trip into the polls on their lunch breaks, and some waited until after work.

For others, it was a chance to show their children how voting really works.

Juanita Sanchez said she and her son studied the issues together, and both went to vote Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Galt. He wasn't old enough to vote, but Sanchez let him help. As for how they voted, they had clearly sided with Barack Obama.

"Hillary (Clinton) had this wonderful plan for health reform when she was first lad, and she let it die," Sanchez said. "She had her chance to do it, so now we'll see what Barack can do."

Others had different viewpoints, with several saying they voted for Mitt Romney because of his conservative views.

For the most part, poll workers were enthusiastic, though the temperature could have been better.

When polls opened at 7 a.m., thermometers measured 35 degrees in Lodi. Workers were quite cold at Fire Station No. 3 in Lodi, and at Reichert's polling location on Brandywine Drive, three other workers were armed with blankets.

They were using a garage on the south side of the street, meaning it didn't get a lot of sun, but they did get creative.

"We started in the garage but we've been moving our table, chasing the sun," Reichert said Tuesday afternoon, when the table was at the end of the driveway.

Latest election results on the Web:


San Joaquin County

Sacramento County

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 11:18 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2008.


    My polling place (Century Assembly) seemed pretty busy yesterday afternoon when I voted.

  • posted at 5:46 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2008.


    ...I voted for [candidate A] but at this point I'm wishing I had registered as a [party name] and voted for [candidate B]...

    that's why I'm not affiliated with any party.

    T&C, run for public office if you think you can do better.

  • posted at 5:07 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2008.


    You were my write-in candidate TC.

  • posted at 1:21 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2008.


    Low voter turnout in Lodi? How can you vote when you're ILLEGAL? That's the way council and Mr. King like it. Only their good old boys turn out to vote for them. That's Lodi.



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