Middling Turnouts on Election Tuesday

Lower Merion polling places have been, so far, underwhelmed by voters.

With thermostats approaching 70 degrees throughout the region, temperatures have been unexpectedly high on Election Tuesday.

The turnouts though? Not so much.

"We've had 130 people so far, so we're pretty light. We usually have had 200 or 240 at this point," said Sherry Horowitz, the vice chair of the Republican Committee of Lower Merion and Narberth, from her seat in the lobby of Green Hill Apartments. The Ward 7 polling place had, according to Judge of Elections Henrietta Klein, 153 voters by 11:45 a.m.

"People think it's only a local election I guess, so they're not coming out," said Horowitz.

Beth Ladenheim, who is campaigning as a Republican for the Ward 7 seat on the Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners against incumbent president Liz Rogan, painted a rosier picture.

"It has been steady," said Ladenheim, who was joined at the polls by her mother and father.

At in Gladwyne, a Ward 1 precinct, the turnout has been a little stronger. The polling place had a turnout of 180 by 1 p.m. which, considered against the Ward's expected turnout, was viewed as positive by Rosemarie Leddy, a Republican volunteer.

"This is a very active ward," explained Leddy, who wore an A.J. Kait sticker on her lapel as she greeted voters outside of the church. Nancy Wise, a Democratic volunteer who handed out brochures from a table in the lobby concurred.

The , a Ward 2 precinct, had seen 92 voters by about 9:30 a.m. Fred Wentz, a Republican committeeman described Tuesday as slow but said that precinct tends to have better turnout than any other precinct in Lower Merion Township in terms of the percentage of voters that show up. Barry Pearlman, a Democratic committeeman, agreed.

At , which houses two precincts—one for Ward 6 and another for Ward 11—seemed a little bit busier than usual, said Democratic committeewoman Eva Ray. She guessed it might have something to do with the publicity and nice weather.

Ward 11 commissioner Lewis Gould, who is running for reelection unopposed for his fifth term, was opening doors for voters arriving and leaving Harriton and asking them to vote for Jenny Brown, the current Ward 2 commissioner for Lower Merion who is running for Montgomery County commissioner on the Republican ballot.

"Local elections are so important, and people don't really appreciate that—it's always been that way," Gould said. "The best part is seeing the voters."

Missy McQuiston was arriving to vote in Ward 11. McQuiston said she is a registered independent but was planning to vote for Jenny Brown and said she felt strongly about the school board election, as "the taxes are just ridiculous."

McQuiston said she always votes.

"I feel it's my duty, and if I don't I get what I deserve," McQuiston said.

Dawn Morningstar, outside the Bryn Mawr Community Center, said she'd voted straight-party Democratic. Her 12-year-old son Noah Cox was enjoying his day off from Welsh Valley Middle School by going to IHOP and voting with his mom.

"It was easy, just pressing buttons," Noah said, adding he is looking forward to voting himself once he learns a little more about politics.

Morningstar said the school board election is particularly important to her since she has two kids in the district.

"I vote in every election," Morningstar said. "People die for us to vote."

At Bala Cynwyd Middle School, site of a pair of Ward 13 precincts, 287 ballots had been cast by 2 p.m.

"We had a steady flow in the morning, but have been slow for the last hour," said Judge of Elections Harold Goldner. Goldner added that, while the casting of actual ballots has gone off without incident, he received several complaints from a local Democratic official.

"There are coffee cups in the lobby that say Barson"—Ward 13 Republican BOC candidate Louis Barson—"on them," explained Goldner, who emphasized that, in his view, coffee cups are unlikely to sway votes.

Ward 13 Democratic candidate Brian McGuire apparently hoped that handshakes would. The incumbent greeted voters outside of the school. He said he was of two minds about the beautiful weather.

"Well, there are a pair of theories about it," McGuire said. "The first is that it will make people more likely to come out. The second is that the weather may actually be too nice."


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