November 06, 2008
Lake Geneva City Clerk Diana Dykstra thought voters would be waiting in lines out to the sidewalks of City Hall Tuesday. Instead, several times throughout the day, she had little to do.
Although voter turnout was expected to be huge, Dykstra said at the most there two or three people in line at any time throughout the day at both City Hall and Fire Station polling locations.
Dykstra said there's little question why — about 1,500 people cast absentee ballots.
"It was unbelievable," Dykstra said. "Nobody turned out. We only had a few hundred today. Voters were surprised when they came in and didn't have to wait. They were amazed."
Including the absentees, in the city, there were a total of 3,288 ballots cast — 1,055 in the Third District, 991 in the First, 682 in the Fourth and 670 in the Second. The total, a 64-percent turnout, is about 100 less than the 2004 presidential election.
When she opened the doors Tuesday morning, Dykstra said there were about 50 people waiting in line at both locations. But after that, there were basically no lines all day at the polls.
The situation in the city wasn't rare.
In Fontana, when the polls first opened, there were about 30 people waiting in line to vote, but within a few minutes, they were out the door. Village Clerk Dennis Martin said that was the only line all day.
"There were no problems at all," he said.
In the village, there were 957 ballots cast, 259 of which were absentee. Although the turnout was high, it was lower than the 2004 presidential election, when 1,051 ballots were cast. Martin said 43 residents registered to vote today. In the weeks leading up to the election, 32 residents registered.
Overall, Martin said the day was a success. Some residents even brought in cookies and brownies for the election workers.
Town of Geneva
It was a hectic start Election Day morning, but by 3:50 p.m., Town Clerk-Treasurer Debra Kirch said things were well under control.
"Everybody wound up waiting an hour early, so there was a big crunch when we started," Kirch said.
What may have helped thin out the lines at the polls was the addition of four booths provided by Geneva Town Board Supervisor Bob Kamps, according to Kirch.
"We usually have eight poll booths, but Bob Kamps made four more and put them at the church," said Kirch, meaning the Como Community Church — were the town turned for its polling site in anticipation of a massive voter turnout.
Another reason for thinning the lines likely is the increase in absentee voting. Kirch said by Saturday, the town received more than 1,100 absentee ballots. By Tuesday, the 1,300 absentee ballots the town ordered were given out. As of 3:50 p.m., Kirch said election workers already began processing the absentee ballots.
Town of Linn
Although the number of people voting at the south shore site in the town of Linn was about what Town Clerk-Treasurer Sue Polyock anticipated, there were more people voting at the north shore site.
As of about 2:30 p.m., 509 people voted at the south shore site, which is located at Linn Town Hall, Zenda. However, Polyock said 190 people turned up before that time at the north shore site at Chapell On The Hill, Highway 50.
"For a presidential election, that seems really good on the north shore," Polyock said. "(But) for the south shore, it's about normal, compared to the last presidential election."
Polyock said for the south shore, there were 75 newly registered voters as of about 2:30 p.m. She also expected larger numbers of new registrants at the north shore.
But this was before what Polyock expected would be the rush at the polls, which she estimated would take place from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Otherwise, as of midafternoon Tuesday, there were no problems, she said.