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The Battalion

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With 34 percent turnout, voting officials expressed favorable sentiment

 
 

A full parking lot and a line winding through the lobby marked the scene in the Brazos Center an hour before the polls closed for the midterm elections Tuesday.
With 81 of 82 precincts reporting, Brazos County tallied 31,898 votes of 92,026 eligible voters.
The Brazos Center was one of 36 polling places in the Brazos Valley. Karen McQueen, county clerk, said the day had been hectic, the line in the lobby an indication of how busy Election Day had been.
“It’s been busy, very busy,” McQueen said. “More so than we thought. It’s a good thing. Early vote was really good so that was a good indication. It’s just been a little more than what we thought, and we’ve got lines, which is unusual except in a presidential, so that’s good.”
Beverly Davis, Class of 1990, said she had never seen such a long line for an election.
“I stood for 40 minutes in line,” Davis said. “I came right after work. The atmosphere is different. Usually I’m in and out within seven minutes. I considered coming in on my way to work, but told myself I didn’t have seven minutes. I’m glad, though, to have to wait in line.”
Fran Duane, Bryan resident and a member of the facilities committee for a Bryan ISD bond that was up for election, spent most of the day outside the Brazos Center.
“Voting today has been quite sporadic,” Duane said. “There was a good turnout between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. It died off, and by 1 p.m. it was desolate. Then around 3:30 p.m. to 4 we started getting a large influx with teachers and parents bringing their children.”
Sydney Leppin, communication senior, voted in her first election Tuesday.
“I know that a lot of my friends tell me, ‘Why bother?’ And I can see in bigger elections it can be a landslide at times,” Leppin said. “But I voted in the local elections, like City Council. In those elections, one vote can make a difference. City Council really affects you, and the rules they pass affect you daily.”
McQueen said bigger items in local elections, including the BISD bond and Bryan charter proposals, may have led to the larger voter turnout.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores said, between local and national elections, voters tend to turn their eyes back to Washington D.C.
“I think most voters are paying a high level of attention to what’s happening in Washington because that’s the source of the bulk of their anxiety,” said Flores, who won his reelection bid Tuesday. “In Texas, our situation is better, so you have less anxiety coming from your state government and local government, so I think consequently there’s a little less interest.”
Duane, on the other hand, thought local elections were more inclusive than national elections.
“National campaigns are big-issue focused and can be polarizing,” Duane said. “On a local level, we are wanting to be inclusive. We don’t only want people to vote, we want people to understand what they’re voting for and ask us questions.”
Flores said he always returns to Bryan at the end of Election Day. While early voting numbers were lower than expected, he said the turnout on Tuesday helped make up for it.
“It’s been very exciting, it’s gone really well,” Flores said. “The reason I was a little worried about the election overall was because we looked at the early voting numbers. They were really low compared to what our expectations were. But fortunately today, the Election Day turnout has just been great. I feel like we’re going to have a huge turnout in Texas.”
Photo by Tanner Garza.

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