Voters get out early

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By John Barnhart

    This year’s midterm election resulted in brisk voter turnout in both Bedford city precincts and in the county.

    “Tremendous! Great! It’s been really good,” said Zack Black, ward chief for the city ward that votes at the library.
    Black said that 257 people had voted there by 9 a.m. And, more were coming. There were two lines going to the door.
    The ward that votes at the Welcome Center had seen     208  voters  come  through  by 10 a.m.
    “Super, more than we expected,” commented John Slate, the ward chief at the Welcome Center. “I thought that there would be a lull after 9 a.m., but it’s been steady.”
    “When I came, cars were all the way around the drive,” said Bill Ross, chairman of Bedford’s electoral board. Ross said that he got there at 7:30 a.m.
    Ross, who is retired, planned to spend the day at the city’s two wards.
    According to Dewy Ashwell, who heads up the polling station at the Bedford County Public Service Authority office on Falling Creek Road, 246 voters had come through by 10:44 a.m. This accounted for 16 percent of the precinct’s registered voters.
    People outside the polling place, who were passing out literature urging voters to cast ballots for particular candidates, noted the turnout.
    “They’ve been steady,” said Bill Toler, who was there to urge people to vote for Cheryl Toler, his daughter-in-law, who was running for the District 3 seat on the Bedford County School Board.
    “It’s been like this all morning,” he said, pointing to the cars pulling into the parking lot.
    This school board race, by the way, seems to be a friendly affair. Toler, and his wife, were having a friendly chat with a lady passing out literature supporting Brad Whorley, who is also seeking that seat.
    By 11:30 a.m. 537 voters had cast ballots at Liberty High School, according to May Markham, who was heading up that precinct. Markham said that precinct has 1,889 registered voters.
    Markham was getting some help from a few folks who are still too young to vote, but wanted to get involved.
    “We have high school students helping us,” she said.
    What brought voters out? Many routinely vote.
    “If you vote, you have the right to complain,” said Charles Hilson. Hilson said that it’s important to participate and have your say.
    Others mentioned something about this election in particular.
    “Just so we can get some things changed,” said William Overstreet, who brought his 4-year-old grandson, Jacob, with him.