In-person turnout this election similar to 2016 in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 November 2020 at 9:13 am

About 65% of registered voters cast ballots in person; Potentially 3,000 absentees to be counted

Photos by Tom Rivers: Patty Urquhart of Kendall, left, fills out her ballot on Tuesday at the Kendall Town Hall.

Turnout at the local polls was steady without long waits in Orleans County. Local election inspectors said the longest lines were right when the polls opened at 6 a.m., but those voters didn’t have to wait too long.

The in-person turnout was similar to the 2016, the last presidential race. The number of in-person votes in the 2020 election was 15,757, or 64.9 percent of the 24,265 total active registered voters. That includes 3,753 through nine days of early voting.

The early voting seemed to reduce the lines on Tuesday. Election inspectors said it was “very steady” on Tuesday and they credited early voting for making the lines more manageable on Tuesday.

A Carlton voter makes his choices on Election Day.

The 15,757 in-person votes in 2020 compares to 15,424 cast for the president in 2016 when the race pitted Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. This time it was Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden and Trump received 71.4 percent of the vote in Orleans. Against Clinton, he received 66.8 percent of the vote in the county.

There are also 2,914 applications for absentee ballots in Orleans. That is up from 952 in 2016. The absentees will be counted on Tuesday, Nov. 10. If all 2,914 ballots come in, that would put total turnout at 18,671 or 76.9 percent.

So far, 2,362 of the absentees have been received. If no more come in to the Orleans County Board of Elections, that would make turnout at 18,119 or 74.7 percent.

Gayle Ashbery, left, and Sharon Stewart worked as election inspectors on Tuesday for Carlton. Voting was moved from the Town Hall to the Carlton Rec Hall due to a renovation project at the town building.

They arrived at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday to get ready for a long day. The polls opened at 6 in the morning and closed at 9 p.m.

“People are doing their civic duty,” Stewart said.

Cathy Schwenk, an election inspector in Carlton, greets voters and directs them to their polling station at the Carlton Rec Hall. Schwenk has worked at local elections for about five years after retiring from her full-time job. She and her husband Paul continue to operate a winery, Schwenk Wine Cellars.

“I just wanted to give back to the town,” Schwenk said about working at the election. “You see a lot of people you don’t normally see, especially during a pandemic where we haven’t been able to see people.”

Schwenk said the voters were friendly and there were no displays of hostility.

“People have been calm,” she said on Tuesday afternoon. “They’re here to do what they have to do.”

The turnout was brisk but there weren’t long lines.

“It’s been nice and steady which makes the day go by,” Schwenk said.

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