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Washington Co. vote underway
The Spectrum. October 22, 2008. BY DAVID DEMILLE

"I want to vote," she said. "But I have to go to work today."

Montenero was one of many voters surprised by the crowds Tuesday as the county opened up several venues for early voting. Polls opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and early voting is also available every weekday for the next two weeks, at five sites throughout the county.

With Senators Barack Obama and John McCain engaged in a heated race for the presidency and several local races drawing extra attention amid questions about growth, the economy, the Lake Powell Pipeline and other issues, voters turned out in droves to support their candidates.

"I was anxious to vote because this year it's very important," said Carol Davis, Dammeron Valley, who was one of the first in line at the county building. She said she wasn't expecting to see the crowds, but attributed them to the increased attention around this particular election.

After casting her vote for Obama, Holly Ann Bowler, St. George, said the election was especially important considering the ongoing uncertainty with the economy.

"That's one of my biggest worries right now," she said. "I think whoever is going to be president is faced with so many struggles, with two wars, the economy, getting along with other countries. I just really hope we can get somebody in there that's humble and can really try to reestablish us as the greatest country in the world."

Harry and Pauline Landvatter, St. George, said they had a lot of concerns about problems St. George has been having with growth in recent years. Harry Landvatter said local government has been too eager to push growth, a detriment to housing prices, public safety, traffic and quality of living.

"If they had controlled the growth it would have been a gradual increase," he said.

Landvatter said he typically votes Republican, but voted for several Democrats this year, including U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson and Lin Alder, a candidate for Washington County Commissioner.

In the presidential race, Landvatter said he voted for McCain, being concerned about whether Obama could truthfully accomplish many of the initiatives he has promised.

"I think there's no way he can produce what he's saying without raising taxes a lot," Landvatter said. "I don't feel like he's telling it like it is."

Whatever their politics, the number of early voters was obviously on the rise this year, said Connie Skelton, poll worker at the county building.

"I think it's great, because it is government for the people, and the more people voting, then that shows that the people are actually having a say in what happens," she said.

She said she is glad people are taking advantage of the early voting option, which makes the process easier for voters and poll workers alike.

"As a rule, they don't have as long a line to wait in, and get it done earlier and at their convenience," she said. "It helps us because there aren't as many people coming through on voting day."

Washington County Clerk Cal Robison said a technical glitch slowed the voting early in the morning, when the voting machines weren't working, but voters were given paper ballots until the machines were operational.

The machines were fixed within a couple of hours, and right on time. Robison said as many as 12,000 people have registered to vote in the county just since the primary election, and after recent growth in the area this year could see the largest voter turnout yet.

"Now you pick up people that haven't voted for four years, since the last presidential election," he said.


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