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Fewer polling stations create longer waits for voters
The Salt Lake Tribune, By Donald W. Meyers, 05 February 2008

For some Utah County voters, casting a ballot meant a trek around town or a long wait in line, after county officials decided to consolidate polling locations.

Ralph Bradley, a Provo Republican, went to vote at Provost Elementary School, where he has voted for the past 27 years, only to learn he would have to go to the Historic Utah County Courthouse to vote.

"While I was at the courthouse, three people who came to vote were told they couldn't vote there," Bradley said.

Meantime, voters in other precincts had to wait in line more than two hours to cast a ballot after the county reduced the number of polling places from 107 to 60 to save money, The Associated Press reported.

BYU student Dave Franz, 24, arrived there at about 5:15 p.m. but didn't get to vote until almost 7:30. But, he said, he and many others were willing to wait given the importance of the election.

"It's the presidential election," Franz said. ''I'd say that's pretty important to our future." Franz, like the overwhelming majority of Republican voters, cast his ballot for Romney. Voters in the GOP primary outnumbered Democratic voters six-to-one

Utah County Clerk-Auditor Bryan Thompson acknowledged, "We just consolidated too much. . . . That was misjudgment on our part."

Melanie McCoard, a local activist, said that, as the county pared down the number of polling places, it did a poor job of letting voters know where to vote.

Thompson said the county posted signs directing people to the correct polling places. "Unfortunately the communication was poor," he said.

There were also problems reported in precincts in Syracuse in Davis County, as technical glitches with an electronic voter check-in created some long lines, but the problems were worked out, said county elections clerk Pat Beckstead.

- Robert Gehrke contributed to this report

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