Residents still compelled to vote

Published 02/26 2013 04:54PM

Updated 02/26 2013 06:39PM

URBANA -- Tuesday's primary election may not have voters on the edge of their seats, but some are still turning out to the polls. The Champaign County Clerk was expecting a low turnout, and the weather didn't help. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera has more from your Local Election Headquarters.

On Tuesday it was snowing, raining and sleeting. And Mother Nature was doing pretty much anything she could to discourage people from hitting the polls. Saying it was a slow day at the election table may be an understatement.

Champaign County's Clerk said the lackluster turnout inside may be because of the wet weather outside. But still, Sam Samet and his wife wanted to do their civic duty, even if it meant braving the cold.

"It's starting to get slick out," said Samet. "Some people think their vote doesn't matter, but it does matter in every election, even if it's just a primary such as this. People should enjoy that right to vote and utilize it."

There are just two races on Champaign County's ballot, just for Democrats in the city of Urbana.

"It's an important issue with the mayor's race and also the clerk, and I think especially, if you want to vote for a change, you should get out here and cast a ballot," said Samet.

At St. Matthews Church, just 64 votes had been cast by 1 pm. And at the Illini Union on campus, there have been just three voters in that same amount of time.

"Primaries? Boring. It's a slow day; usually is," said Mike Spillers.

Spillers has been an election judge for more than ten years, so he knows how to prepare for what can be a very long day.

"Prepare your lunch, snacks. Bring it all with you because we're here from 5 o'clock in the morning until at least 7 pm," said Spillers. "And the only time we're allowed to leave is nature breaks. Other than that, we're here."

Spillers said it can be fun to get to know the people you're working with. They hope to get double-digit ballots by the end of the day, but they're not holding their breath.

"It's hard to say," said Spillers. "Anything's possible."

Polls are open until 7 pm. The county clerk said he hopes to get the count done fairly quickly.

They're already preparing for the next election in April. The last time there was an election like this, there were about 4,000 votes cast then, so that's what the clerk was hoping for.

Two candidates are vying for the Democratic ticket in the race for mayor. Current Mayor Laurel Prussing is on the ballot and Leslie Stratton is challenging her. Whoever wins the primary will face off against the Republican candidate in April.

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