It was a slow day at the polls

Story posted November 4, 2014 in

At noon in the Centre Region Senior Center, a small room is lit by yellowing light, creating a monotone ray of color that radiates throughout the room. 

Multicolored papers hang on the windows, which open to look into an open courtyard. 

Four students from Bellefonte, volunteer poll workers, sit eating Subway sandwiches and talking among themselves. The room contains two voters -- and two other, older volunteers, watching. 

When voters walk through, all six volunteers look up, a sign of the slow pace that would be seen throughout the day.

Graduate student Thomas Newman was one of the few who had voted during the morning in the Centre Region Senior Center.

"I've been voting since I was 18," he said. 

But, Newman said, he's not 100 percent sure which issues he was focusing on.

He simply stated, "I vote to make sure I cast my vote on the election." 

He added: "If you're not choosing the representative you want to see in office, you can't complain about the issues."

Meanwhile, State College resident Susan Venegoni, a co-judge of elections, counts the bodies that pass through the doors. 

By noon, 62 people had voted at the location.

"At this time, we are a little behind [normal numbers], but we get rushes," Venegoni said.

Venegoni, herself, has been volunteering for several years.

"I believe in voting," she said. "It's our constitutional right. I hope people use the opportunity to have their voice heard."

Venegoni said some people don't vote because they don't think it matters or they don't like the candidates. Others, she said, might not register in time or don't think their voice counts.

At 4:45 p.m. at Friend's Meeting House, another polling place, 99 people have cast their votes.

Rick Gilmore is a judge of elections at the location. He said that voter turnout has been fairly steady throughout the day. 

He said it looked like, historically, the numbers were low in comparison to previous gubernatorial races.

"The area is a mix of residents and students," he said, acknowledging that students typically vote more during presidential elections. 

"These races might not engage students," Gilmore said.

But Gilmore said anyone who makes the effort to vote is making his or her voice heard.

Gilmore, who has been volunteering for 10 years, said it is the judge of election's job to make the election process easy for voters and to carry the process out in a professional way.

He said his favorite part is helping people vote who may be confused.

"It's an important right," he added.

Yet no matter how important, the number of voters was low throughout the day.

Jennifer Koskey, of State College, was volunteering at the Centre Region Senior Center, watching the voter turnout.

"It's sad, very sad," she said.