Some residents are so interested in voting that they showed up at the polls with no one to vote for.
Poll workers at early voting centers had to turn away a few voters last week after scanning their identification and learning they didn’t live within city limits for Cambridge City, Milton or Richmond.
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For instance, during a brief visit to First Bank Kuhlman Center when only a handful of voters stopped by, two voters had to be turned away.
Fortunately, once they learned that no one they were eligible to vote for faced an opponent, they understood and left peacefully.
This was also the first year that early voters had to sign envelopes and place their ballot inside as they would do if they were mailing it before dropping it into boxes. It was a new state requirement.
Mary Kendall of Williamsburg has worked at the polls for about six years.
“I get to meet so many different people,” Kendall said. “I really enjoy when they come in smiley and friendly and they love they have the right to vote, that it’s not been taken away from them.”
Betty Dilley of Richmond has worked the polls a couple more years than Kendall. She also likes greeting voters.
“You know you’re helping and encouraging them to come out to vote,” Dilley said. “We tell them we appreciate them taking time to come out and vote.”
Patti Dole, inspector at Kuhlman, said early voting had been slow, with about 75 to 80 voters per day. The first Saturday was slightly higher, with 87 voters.
By midweek, First English had had more voters per day than Kuhlman.
Kendall said she believes new voters, especially young people, like early voting. They can spend more time reviewing their ballot at the polls when there are no lines and make sure they’ve followed directions so their vote counts, she said.
Mary Couch of Richmond voted Nov. 1 at First English, and said poll workers were very friendly and helpful. She said she’s voted throughout the “many years” she’s been eligible.
Although she likes living in Richmond, Couch would like to see more money spent for housing for seniors, and she also believes an old warehouse or similar building could be fixed up so no one has to lay on the streets.
“I count it a privilege,” Couch said about voting. “We women and the Blacks had to fight for this right and I’m going to do my best to vote right and only God can take care of the rest … I’ll come back next year, God willing.”
A version of this article appeared in the November 8 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.