The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 7, 2012

County has robust voter turnout

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Robust voter turnout was seen across Garfield County, with many precinct workers met at 7 a.m. by anxious voters lined up outside their doors.

About 11 a.m., 101-year-old Lynn Bowen was casting his ballot at the voting precinct in Carrier. By all accounts, Bowen said he’s always voted for a Democrat for president, until Tuesday.

It was the theme of the state, as 1.15 million of Oklahoma’s 2.1 million registered voters cast ballots on Election Day. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried Oklahoma with 66.8 percent of the vote — although President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term.

“I never voted for a Republican, and I just voted for one,” Bowen said, filling in the line on his ballot for Gov. Mitt Romney. “I’ve been voting since I’ve been of voting age.”

Although Bowen said he couldn’t remember who was the first presidential candidate he voted for, he can remember the place he cast that first ballot.

After such long support for Democrats, Bowen said the change came because of advice from his father.

“My dad used to tell me a story that once you’re a millionaire, vote Republican,” he said, “because they’ll take care of your money.”

Bowen joked while scanning his ballot, saying he was looking for the place to vote for former Gov. Brad Henry.

Although more than 80 years separate the two, 18-year-old Mandy Schroeder cast her ballot for Romney, too.

The Oklahoma State University student from Kremlin said her first time voting was everything she expected it to be.

“Yeah, it was great,” she said. Her vote went to Romney for his fiscal positions. “I feel his ideas will be more beneficial to America,” she said, “more specifically, for the economy.”

The eager voter also said she had her votes on all six state questions ready before she entered the booth. “I knew most of what I was going to vote for,” she said.

Those manning the Carrier precinct said there were 40 people waiting for the polls to open at 7 a.m.

By 11:05 a.m., 209 voters already had been to cast their votes.

“This is fantastic,” clerk Norina Wehrenberg said. “It’s not been real busy flow, but a consistent flow all day.”

At the precinct in Breckinridge, a 122 ballots had been cast by 10 a.m.

“It’s been steady most of the morning,” Clerk Linda Bolte said. “For us, that’s pretty steady.” With about 500 voters in the precinct,  inspector Victor Roggow said Tuesday’s turnout was good for how early it was. “We had some lines here in the morning,” he said.

Both Bolte and Roggow said there were 13 people waiting at one time, which almost is  unheard of at their precinct.

Roggow has served on the election board for 50 years, and he said the presidential race has drawn more voter attention this election than in years past.

A the precinct in Kremlin, 178 voters had visited by 10:30 a.m. Clerk Lillian Brawner attributed heavier-than-normal turnout to the presidential race.

“It’s been pretty steady,” she said. “ We didn’t have a whole lot when we had the run-off for sheriff.” Judge Glenda Devlin said the time to cast a ballot has increased, likely due to the six state questions on this year’s ballot. But some were ready to go. “I think some had it already figured out,” she said. “Some came in with a piece of paper.”