Big turnout by county voters

SANDPOINT — Bonner County polling personnel stayed busy all day Tuesday as residents turned out to vote.

With the Oval Office on the line, polling place attendants reported a huge turnout among local residents. An early morning rush with hefty lines gradually ceded into a consistent stream of voters throughout the day.

“We’ve been steady throughout the day,” Sandpoint Community Hall polling place attendant Sally Transue said. “It’s rare that we’ve not had anyone in here at all.”

The polls opened across the county at 8 a.m. with many voters already lined up to cast their ballots. Many of the early-comers showed up before the polling places opened due to reports from Spokane news stations that indicated Idaho voting would begin at 7 a.m. According to the election officials at Farmin Stidwell Elementary School, that added up to trouble for them as they informed people they would need to wait for a while. By the time the doors opened at 8 a.m., they were dealing with extensive lines throughout the morning as residents tried to vote before heading into work.

The same proved true in other polling places, too.

“When we first started out, we had a few people already waiting to vote,” Transue said.

According to poll place attendees at Sandpoint Community Hall, the election brought out a large number of voters who required registration services. Some simply needed to change their address. Others were young individuals voting for the very first time. In at least one case, an older individual made his political voice heard for the first time.

“I asked him, ‘You’re just now voting for the very first time,’” registration attendant Grace Brixen said. “He said, ‘Yeah, and I’m pretty happy about it.’”

No matter which candidates people supported, polling place volunteers reported a general air of enthusiasm as democracy worked its course. After months of speculation, polling data, editorials and debate, residents said they were ready to cast their vote.

“It’s been pretty intense out there, and I think people are just happy to be a part of the process,” voter Cindy Susnis said.

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