Dave Spooner sits at the voting booth at Leavitt Park Clubhouse to cast his vote in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
By Roger Amsden and Michael Kitch, THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
Voter turnout was high across all wards in the Lake City yesterday for the Presidential Primary, and many who voted said that while it's nice to be at the center of national attention, they're glad the primary is behind them.
Helping spur the big turnout were a large number of first-time voters, according to polling officials.
"We've registered at least 50 new voters today,'' said Greg Page, Ward 5 moderator, who said that 430 of the ward's 1,338 registered voters had cast ballots by mid-afternoon and that he was expecting a large number of voters to turn out later in the day.
Many of the voters said that they had only made up their mind on how they would vote as they entered polling places, an indication that surprises might be in store when the results were tallied and compared with recent polls of New Hampshire voters.
In Ward 2, Moderator Wayne Eshelman said that nearly 500 voters had turned out by early afternoon, and Ward 6 Moderator Tom Brown said over 850 ballots had been cast by mid afternoon.
Page said that like many of the Ward 5 voters he hadn't made up his mind until he was in the voting booth. "There were a lot of candidates I thought were good and had strong messages." he said.
Susan Smith and Scott Smith in Ward 5 said they only made up their minds on Monday night and didn't say who had won their support, but Susan did say that they had received a Christmas card from Donald Trump.
In Ward 6, Jason Wylie said he made up his mind at the last moment.
"I was down to three people and was swinging back and forth, but went with my gut feeling," said Wylie.
In the end, he voted for Trump, and said that John Kasich was his second choice, followed by Marco Rubio.
Another Ward 6 voter, Rusty Davis, said that he only made up his mind at the last moment.
"With so many candidates, there was a lot to think about," he said. "I've had so many phone calls and received so many mailers. It's nice to see such a large turnout. It's time people actually got involved in who they're going to elect. What we do here will have a big impact and will carry over to South Carolina."
His choice was John Kasich.
In Ward 2, Bea Emond said that she made up her mind Monday night to vote for Hillary Clinton.
"I've been teetering between her and Bernie Sanders and didn't decide until I talked with my sister-in-law and niece who to vote for."
She made the trip to the polls with her neighbor Susan Martin, who said that she just recently made the decision to vote for Clinton although she likes Sanders' message.
"I really like Bernie but he's 74 and I just wonder: Is he the guy to beat the Republicans?" she said.
Both women said that they can't stand Donald Trump.
"He's so arrogant that he'll have us all at war"' said Martin.
Also making up their minds at the last minute on who to vote for were Todd and Rachel Rollins, who showed up the Ward 2 polls with their son, Evan.
"We've had a lot of phone calls and a lot of mail. We made up our minds two minutes ago,'' said Rachel, who said that while it is fun to be courted for their votes, "We're glad it's over."
Many others said they feel the same way, especially with the constant phone calls from polling firms.
"Oh my god," said Heidi Squires, "we don't even answer the phone any more." She and her husband Chad have been regular voters in Ward 3 for years, he since 1972 and she not as long. "I''m younger," she chirped, flashing a smile and squeezing her husband. Chad sensed a change in campaigning in this year's primary. "We only had four people knock on the door, but the we got at least six phone calls a day, often at odd hours," he said.
Both took Democratic ballots and voted for the same candidate.
"I would not have missed voting this year," said Heidi, who was less concerned with the campaign than the outcome. "I would be ashamed if Donald Trump became president of the United States."
Carolyn Muller, a Republican voter in Ward 3, said "I will be happy when it slows down. The mailing don't bother me. The people at the door don't bother me," she said. "It's the phone calls. We have children we have to get to bed by 8:30 p.m. and the phone ringing doesn't help."
But Bill Joyner, another Ward 3 voter, said, "I wouldn't have it any other way. A couple of weeks of phone calls. I'm cool. It's the American way." He said that "I vote every chance I get," explaining that "you have to stand up and make a decision."
Joyner said he voted Democratic, insisting that "America is already great" and "we only need to continue what we're doing and care for each other."
Argee and Rose Whittier voted for Hillary Clinton in Ward 4. For Rose, a native of the Philippines, it was her trip to the polls.
"I really want my vote to be counted," she said. "It is a privilege to vote and I'm very happy to be a part of this."
Donna King and her daughter Adrienne took Republican ballots in Ward 4. Donna said that with so many candidates who were not career politicians this primary was different.
"It's a very good thing to have candidates going against the grain who are not intimidated," she said. Both said that voted on the issues. Donna was concerned about amnesty for illegal immigrants and favored repealing Obamacare and lowering taxes while national security and economic prosperity were priorities for Adrienne.
"No comment," said Adrienne's 16-year-old son Tim, who described himself as "the family instigator," and said he will be voting in the next election.
"Boy, am I glad it's over," said Kevin Tobin of Ward 4. "All the flyers. And I have a land line and the phone has been ringing for the past six months. Since September anyway."
A Democrat, he said that picking between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was a hard choice, but two months ago he decided to vote for Clinton. "But the phone kept ringing," he said.
Mark Roche, who recently came to New Hampshire from Rhode Island, enjoyed his first primary. He said he went to a few town halls and taped some debates.
"I wasn't crazy about the phone calls, but we don't have a land line," he said. He added that he and his wife shared answering knocks on the door and "I lucked out with the Girl Scout cookies."
After working for the Sanders campaign since the summer, Ginny Martin said she was "weary, but excited weary" when she cast her vote in Ward 1 yesterday. She said that she worked on Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008 and would probably work for her again if she becomes the Democratic nominee. But, right now she said she looks forward "to learning the results, then partying."
"I don't pay a lot of attention," said one man who did not reveal his last name, then, pointing to the top of his head, added "I've had it up to here with career politicians who just tell lies and do nothing. I got to vote for the guy with the same name as me," he continued. "Donald." His wife replied that "we're a divided household" and disclosed she had voted Democratic. Unlike her husband she withheld her first name when asked, "You are?" by responding "I'm not here."
Lt. Kris Kelley looks on as Claire and Kerry Morrison place their ballot into the antique ballot box at the Gilford Community Center for Tuesday’s primary. It is the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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