Natrona County Reports Heavy, But Smooth, Voter Turnout
The voters lined up early at the Industrial Building at the Fairgrounds; really early.
"There were about 150 waiting," poll worker Rob Hendry said Tuesday.
The doors opened at 7 a.m., and the rush continued for 25 minutes as they went to the election judges working the computers to check in or register, and then be directed to their precincts, said Hendry, a county commissioner who is not on the ballot this year.
One of those approximately 20 election judges, Candice Young distinguished herself by wearing a glittery red, white and blue "I (heart) the USA" party headband -- and a big smile.
The noon rush at the polls had picked up, as voters lined up in front of the election workers, and Rhonda Franzen was next up for Young.
Franzen had not voted in the primary, so she had to reregister. She and Young exchanged small talk, Franzen's driver's license and a few laughs. Young handed her a single page to verify information. Franzen filled it out, returned it and received the ticket she would present to the Dean Morgan Junior High School election judges.
It was over in less than 10 minutes.
After she voted, she recalled the controversy from earlier this year when Natrona County Clerk Renea Vitto, with the approval of the Natrona County Commission, consolidated 14 precincts at the Industrial Building and six precincts at Restoration Church, 411 Walsh Drive. Vitto made that decision because of complaints about problems at school polling places such as parking, access for the handicapped, tightened school security and construction.
"When I learned that Dean Morgan wasn't a polling place, which is right near my house, I didn't understand why that wasn't the case and that we had to come to the Fairgrounds," Franzen said.
"But actually I didn't anticipate that it would move so smoothly, and that they had all of the regular polling places here, all in one place," she said.
Her husband voted earlier Tuesday and had the same experience, she said.
Lorenzo Maffin had a similar experience.
"I probably wasn't in the system, but gratefully Wyoming has the opportunity to go and register at this spot," Maffin said.
Maffin's friend Michaela Eddy said she was already registered and sailed through the process, too.
Franzen, Maffin and Eddy were among the 3,600 voters who cast ballots at the Fairgrounds and Restoration Church by noon.
Meanwhile, Vitto said she and other county workers were counting the last of about 11,000 absentee ballots.
The county clerk's office will make those results available after the polls close at 7 p.m. today.