Except for the one year when her son was down for the count with chicken pox, Virginia Russell—now a grandmother—has voted in every single primary and general election since her 21st birthday.
“I think it’s your civic duty,” she said.
Adding she wished more young people exercised their right to vote, Russell was part of the light crowd at the polls today in Cranberry for the primary election.
While more voters typically turn out for a presidential election year, it was still slow going for the spring primary in Cranberry. With Republican presidential hopeful earlier this month, Tish Kribbs, majority inspector for the Cranberry West II voting precinct, said today's low turnout may be in part because people believe the presidential nominations already are decided.
As of noon, only about 120 people out of the precinct’s 2,084 registered voters had cast their vote.
“They think it’s pretty well determined,” Kribbs said.
Mitt Romney is now the assumed Republican presidential nominee. President Barack Obama is running uncontested for the Democratic nomination.
Still, Sandy Mullins, judge of elections for the Cranberry East III polling location inside the township municipal center, said it’s important for people to vote in the primary. She pointed out that although Santorum suspended his campaign, he is still on the primary ballot. So are fellow GOP-presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.
“If you don’t vote in the primary, then you don’t have a choice in November,” she said.
Earl Grubbs, judge of elections for Cranberry East I polling location inside the , agreed. He added people seem apathetic about voting today.
“I think it’s your patriotic duty to vote and to care about your country,” he said.
Ron Spencer, who was accompanied by his wife, Donna Spencer, had no problem letting his voice be heard. A fan of Obama in the 2008 presidential election, Spencer said he’d be using his vote this time in the hopes of driving Obama from the White House.
“I’m tired of the wealth being spread,” he said.
Election workers in Cranberry all said they expect a large turnout for the fall’s general election. Carol Jean Keefer, the longtime judge of elections for Cranberry’s West V voting precinct, said there are voters she only sees once every four years for the presidential election.
While there only was a handful of people voting at one time on Tuesday, she expects a line out the door in November.
“People come out of the woodwork to vote,” she said.
Tuesday’s primary election also was a dry run for the , which doesn’t go into effect until November. To prepare voters, officials at each polling place are asking for a photo identification card today.
Mullins said about 95 percent of the people who voted at the Cranberry East III precinct did not have a problem with the new law. The reaction was more mixed at the Cranberry West II precinct, where clerk Ceil Pacella said a few people—in protest of the new law—refused to show their IDs.
“People either think it’s a really great idea or they refuse,” she said. “The ones who didn’t like it said they weren’t going to do it until they had to.”
If you haven't already, there’s still plenty of time to get in your vote. Polls will be open until 8 p.m. Voters must be registered with a political party to vote in the primary. To check if you are registered, or for other information, go to the Butler County Elections Bureau website.
To learn more about the races, plus a complete list of the area’s polling locations,. Don't forget to check back with Cranberry Patch later today for up-to-the-minute election information and results.