Election Day: Truckee voters keep the poll workers busy | SierraSun.com

Election Day: Truckee voters keep the poll workers busy

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunPaul Karls holds his son Brandon Karls, 1, as he votes at Truckee Community Center Tuesday morning.
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Poll workers in Truckee reported a stronger voter turn out than usual on Tuesday but had little to say about the value of the newly added Diebold touch-screen voting machines.

“There’s usually at least some dead time during the voting day, but we started with a big line at 7 a.m. and have been steady ever since,” said poll worker Carla Embertson, noting that a few people inquired about the option to vote on the Diebold, but that as of 6:30 p.m. no one had actually touched the machine.

Still, a few tried the new voting method.

“It was easy (to use),” said Truckee voter Ignacio Cortez, the first person to use the Diebold machine Tuesday morning at the Truckee Community Center. “It’s better (than paper). All you do is put a little card in it and everything comes up on the computer ” you just mark what you want. I will use it again if they have it.”

Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts Tuesday around the state, according to the Associated Press, delaying voters in several states and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead.

“It looked easy in the demo, but we couldn’t get it working this morning,” Embertson said, explaining that poll workers were given a hands-off demo on how to use the machine, but weren’t able to actually touch it until 30 minutes before polls opened.

Statewide, voter turnout was expected to be low ” just 50 to 55 percent of those registered, or 36 percent of the general eligible public ” according to surveys conducted by Field Research Group and Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

Locally, the Truckee Regional Airport board, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board provided the hot-button races. Only a few of the people surveyed voiced outstanding concern for the Truckee Town Council, citing that things on the town level were moving along “smooth enough.”

“It is what it is,” said Truckee resident Bro Shontz.

A few voters pointed to the gubernatorial race as the “it” state election, but nothing came close to the voter sentiment voiced about the Doolittle-Brown race.

“I always vote, but that was the race that pushed me to come out this year,” said Truckee resident Susan Keenan, who echoed the dump-Doolittle attitude voiced by many residents queried on Tuesday.

And as for all those ballot measures?

“There are too many measures that you have to really research, and so many special interest groups and it makes me unsure, so I tend to give them no votes,” Shontz said.

Many other voters also said that they voted no on the majority of the ballot measures unless there were specific ones ” the education measures and parental notification measures in particular ” that were emotionally charged.

And the final sigh of relief came as voters exited their precincts and headed home to quiet telephones and docile television ads ” the hype is over.

“You know, I almost didn’t vote because of all the damn phone calls I got,” said Truckee resident Bernie Lander. “I’d come home and there would be ten messages on the machine, and if they weren’t on your phone, they were knocking on your door.”