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Election day brings out North Coast voters

  • Omar Eljumaily votes in the leadership room at Elsie Allen High School on Tuesday morning.

Business was steady Tuesday morning at various polling places in Santa Rosa despite predictions of low voter turnout this election cycle.

And for many, the decision to cast a ballot appeared to be as much philosophical as it was about ensuring victory for particular candidates or measures.

"I'm a skeptic and a complainer, and in order to earn the right to complain, I have to do something about it," said John Stark, 82, as he left the polling booth at Proctor Terrace Elementary School.

Election 2012 Sonoma County

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He said he voted for non-incumbents to protest public employee pensions that he believes threaten to lead the the city and county into bankruptcy.

"I'm so concerned about the general direction of this country and the way it's been co-opted by corporations," said Michael Klaper, M.D., who rode his bike to the school to cast his own ballot. Voting "is my act as an individual American.

"It sounds corny, but democracy is precious," Klaper said, "and this is one of those things I can do that makes me feel like an American, not just a consumer."

Polling places opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday and will remain open until 8 p.m.

At the First Congregational Church on Humboldt Street, three people already were waiting when precinct workers opened the doors. By 8:20 a.m., 30 people had come in to vote or drop off vote-by-mail ballots.

Traditionally, first thing in the morning, lunchtime and 5 p.m. quitting time are the busiest periods of the day, workers said.

But lunchtime "is a better barometer" of overall turnout, precinct inspector Tom McCracken said.


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