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Steady stream of voters at local polling sites
Initial voter turnout in Porterville and Tulare County for the 2012 election looked promising Tuesday morning.
“This has been more than I have seen it in a very, very long time,” said Lori Lady, chief inspector at the Veterans Memorial Building polling site.
Lady, who has been a poll worker for 23 years, said that by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, there was roughly 20 people in line at the polling place that serves three precincts.
Just after noon, voter turnout there was at 231, not counting provisional or mail-in ballots.
A similar scenario played out at First United Methodist Church on Morton Avenue with 230 voters by noon and 111 voters at First Baptist Church on North G Street by 12:15 p.m.
Poll workers at different sites also encountered irked voters.
“People are real frustrated with the reorganizing of the precincts and not knowing where to go,” Lady said. “And a lot of people don’t want to be a mail-in ballot, they want to come in, stand at the booth, get their ballot and stick it in the machine.”
Angie Rodriguez-Angeles, chief inspector at the First Baptist Church site, said one voter flung an “I Voted” sticker at her after he learned he had to vote provisional.
“He said we didn’t give him the right to vote because of the redirection of precincts,” Rodriguez-Angeles said. “He was not happy at all, neither was his wife or his friend.”
A random sampling of people exiting poll sites around Porterville Tuesday morning had President Barack Obama ahead of Mitt Romney in the presidential race.
“Let Obama win,” said 77-year-old Magdalena Escobar, “I’ve learned a lot during his term and I agree with his beliefs.”
First-time voter Daniel Deleon said he voted for Santa Claus.
“He’s a candidate but he changed his legal name to that. His real name is Thomas O’Connor and he’s an independent candidate,” Deleon said, adding that he did not vote for Obama or Romney because he’s just not interested in them.
“This guy is more of a real guy. The others only offer empty promises and you can’t really trust what they’re saying,” he said.
The 18-year-old Porterville College student said he also voted yes on Proposition 30 — Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure to raise taxes on those who make more than $250,000 a year and to also temporarily raise the sales tax by a quarter of a percent.
“I put yeah but it’s iffy,” Deleon said. “In the end what it comes down to is that we need to put our money somewhere, even if it’s not guaranteed, we have some money into the schools.”
Check here throughout the day for more updates on the election.