Voter Turnout Low and Slow on Election Day
With both Marple and Newtown townships holding uncontested races, despite a contested county council and school board race, Election Day was fairly slow in the Marple Newtown community.
Around 5 p.m., Marple Township Board of Commissioners Vice President John Lucas (R-4th Ward) said by the end of Tuesday, he expected to see about a 20 to 25 percent voter turnout in his ward.
"Normally we have about 15 to 20 people to vote standing out the door [at Loomis Elementary School] but today we had two," said Lucas. "When you get to local races, particularly the judges and school board races, the turnout is much less."
Newtown Township's first precinct is the largest and their polling polling place at Newtown Public Library is one of the busiest, but on Election Day it was "overall light," said Jack Pund, vice chairman of the Newtown Republican party, who is also running in an uncontested race auditor's race.
Just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening, Pund said nearly 400 voters came out and hoped for more during the dinnertime hours.
Though the local municipal race is contested in Newtown this year, Pund said committee members were out at polling places to help in the county-level elections.
"It's more to support the county. We have to try to get the plurality here to help off-set the county races," said Pund.
But despite three democrats and five republicans all vying for five seats on the school board, Pund said both GOP parties in Marple and Newtown townships have endorsed the same candidates this years which may have drawn less controversy.
"There have been some years where we've endorsed different candidates before," said Pund. "I guess we're getting a little smarter as time passes."
Regardless of a slow Election Day and an uncontested municipal race, both of the new commissioners in Marple greeted residents in their wards from morning to evening.
"I've been here since 7 a.m. and will stay until 8 p.m.," said Robert Fortebuono in front of St. Pius X, who will be Marple's third ward commissioner. "It's nice to see everyone here. I just wanted to be out to meet everyone. I don't want to miss a handshake."
Marple's soon-to-be first ward Commissioner Joe Rufo was at Marple Presbyterian Church since 6:30 a.m. Tuesday greeting and meeting residents in his ward and expected to stay until the polls closed.
"I'm anxious to get started. It's a little bittersweet leaving the school board," said Rufo, who has served on the Marple Newtown School Board for the past two years. "I'm hoping to be the liaison to the school board though."
Stay tuned with Marple Newtown Patch for the winners of the 2011 elections.