GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 6, 2012

Spirited voters flock to polls in region

By Marjorie Nesin Staff Writer
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Crank, ding!

With that, the Rockport Elementary School precinct collected its 1,250th ballot by about 4 p.m. Tuesday, fed into the old fashioned hand-crank voting machine by an ecstatic first time voter.

“I am super excited,” Li Vandeventer said, bouncing on her toes and pumping her fists in the air.

Vandeventer, who turned 19 in October, had just cast her first-ever presidential ballot Tuesday in the Rockport school’s band room.

“It’s my voice in the country,” Vandeventer said. “I’m Asian and I’m adopted and I’ve always felt a little out of place. But now I can vote and have my voice heard as an American.”

Rockport Police Officer Peter Griffin stood by with a key to the old machine, ready to empty the wooden box each time ballots reached its brim throughout the day. Griffin said the voting at Rockport Elementary had run smoothly throughout the day.

Sarah van Gulden said she, like many others, showed up at the polls to honor a civic duty.

“I believe it’s our duty as citizens,” Sarah van Gulden said. “I’m glad I can do it when a lot of people in the world can’t.”

In Lanesville, about 20 residents eager to vote lined up outside the community center ready about 30 minutes before polls opened at 7 a.m. And those voters set the tone for the steady feed of residents throughout the day, according to City Clerk Linda T. Lowe, working the polls as well Tuesday morning. Lanesville had seen 1,010 voters by 3 p.m. — then collected another 132 ballots in the next half hour.

“We haven’t even really been hit yet,” Lowe said, expecting the after work crowd.

A black Labrador retriever named Maggie sauntered around the community room, tilting her head to check out the tables and gently sniffing at kids, while her owner Bob Spaner waited to vote.

Jeff Pool’s 4-year-old son Zachary scratched at Maggie’s ear. Pool said he brought the kids to give them a first-hand civic experience.

“I wanted to let them see what it’s like and enjoy the experience,” Pool said.

Pool’s 8-year-old daughter, Ashlyn, voted in a mock election at school last week, she said.

“I liked it because you got to choose whatever you wanted to,” Ashyln said.

After piling out of the voting booth, Zachary, Ashlyn and their 7-year-old sister Kayden, got the chance to pick out treats at the polling place bake sale. The Community Center and the Plum Cove School’s PTO hosted the bake sale, with at least three tables of goodies from lemon squares to pumpkin cookies to cupcakes. Sharron Cohen, wearing a stars and stripes spangled vest, managed the roomful of sweets.

Cohen, who had temporarily dyed her hair half blue with white star-dots and half with red and white stripes, said voters, many of whom picked up sweets before leaving the center, had been patient and pleasant throughout the day.

“After this whole election season, it’s so nice to have this,” Cohen said.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.