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Mason City voter turnout 'slow and steady' Tuesday morning

Election Day - Highland Park Golf Course

Highland Park Golf Course was one of the polling locations for some voters on Tuesday.

Voter turnout for Mason City on Election Day was slow and steady on Tuesday morning.

A small number of voters in the Mason City area were arriving to voting precincts during the morning hours. Poll worker Pat Suntken, who was helping out at Grace United Methodist Church, said despite the small morning turnout, she was expecting more after lunch and when people get done with work.

"Probably not one of the busiest elections, but it is important," said Suntken.

Around 10 a.m., the Grace United Methodist Church polling location had seen 20 voters come in to cast a ballot. Suntken added the location had not see any drive-through voters yet.

Drive-through voting is available to people with mobility impairments, but two precinct workers are required to take the ballot out to each vehicle and stay while a person votes.

Suntken explained that if a person were to request this option at her polling place, they would have to pause voting inside since a certain number of workers is required to oversee the polls. As of this morning, Grace United Methodist was staffed with four poll workers.

Polling judge Donna Braughtun, who is overseeing the Highland Park Golf Course voting location, said she'd had 24 voters come in during the morning hours to vote. She said a couple of those were curbside voters, which she added was "good for those [who have recently had] surgery."

Braughtun said her station was originally to be staffed with five poll workers at their location but were down one due to illness.

Both polling locations reported the voting process had been smooth and quick for voters when checking in during the morning.

One voter, Paul Anderson, said he found it important to vote because he wanted things to change. 

"I would like to see the streets repaved," said Anderson. 

Anderson added he would like to see the hotel built downtown before building the skywalk.

Pat Rumeliote said she came to the polls because she believes voting is "part of our rights and freedoms living in America."

"I want God fearing people. God has a plan and a purpose for this nation and we need to be guarding it. We need to be sure that it is God's purpose being done," said Rumeliote.

Later in the evening, the Highland Park Golf Course polling place had seen 231 voters by around late 6 p.m. Braughtun says they have not had much of a break and had been happy with how many voters had showed up.

"I'm just glad to see the numbers show up," said Braughtun.

Linda Weatherwax, who was the polling judge at Trinity Lutheran Church, said turnout had been slow. Weatherwax reported they had only 93 voters come to their location. She added having both the city council race and the school board race at the same time had helped with numbers.

Suntken said during the evening they had 120 voters and no drive-throughs all day. She added that things had been smooth all day and how impressed she was with people being prepared with their identification.

"I'm happy that we made it to 120," said Suntken.

Valerie Winter and Tom Winter arrived at the Grace United Methodist Church to cast their ballot. Both said their main issues was having the Mason City School Board become more accepting of diversity and keeping religion out of school.

"I think our kids need diversity in school. I kind of want to keep religion out of the school like it should be," said Valerie Winter. "If they want to go to Catholic school, that's fine. But I think public school should be kept like it was meant to be."

"I don't feel like there's many on the school board currently that are accepting of enough diversity in the kids," said Tom Winter.

Tom Winter added he wanted a school board director to keep union members in mind and represent unions.

"I'm a lifetime union member. I like to keep that as somebody in there that will think like minded," said Tom Winter.

The Mason City polling places closed up at 8 p.m.

Abby covers education and public safety for the Globe Gazette. Follow her on Twitter at @MkayAbby. Email her at Abby.Koch@GlobeGazette.com

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