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Some Springfield Polling Places Are Busier Than Others

Presidential Election 2012

Voters are waiting in lines today—some longer than others—in order to cast their ballot in today’s election.  One of those voters was Derrick Hinkle…

(Sound:  Derrick Hinkle checking in)

He took time this morning to vote at Asbury United Methodist Church on S. Campbell where the line was only a few people deep…

"You know, it's our duty as citizens of a democracy to vote because otherwise the system doesn't work," he said.

Hinkle says he’s not really concerned about who the next president will be…

"What I'm most concerned about is who they would appoint to the Supreme Court justices.  I'm more concerned about Congress.  I think that they've done a very poor job in the past couple of years--two to four years--and I think that's something that needs to change."

Another voter at Asbury, Ray Lampert, however, is closely watching the presidential race.  And he says one statewide ballot measure, in particular, concerns him…

"One of the issues that I think is important is the Constitutional Amendment--the one dealing with the judicial system, the court system.  I'm voting against the amendment to change the nonpartisan court plan," he said.

Patricia Smith, who cast her ballot across town at High Street Baptist Church where the line was considerably longer, says she’s always voted.  As she waited in line to vote this year, she voiced some particular concerns…

"The contraceptive issue bothers me, and, I don't know, there's just too much fighting between the different parties and the different candidates and a little too much  not quite telling the truth," she said.

It’s not always the case, but this year she and her husband were planning to vote for different presidential candidates…

Reporter:  "Has that caused some spousal conflict?"

Patricia Smith:  (laughs) "Oh, it's been interesting (laughs). 

Patricia's husband:  "I wouldn't call it interesting." 

"After 53 years,  it almost caused a divorce," she said.  (laughs)

They kept a good sense of humor about it—as her husband searched through his wallet for his voter i.d. card—Patricia Smith joked that she probably stole it.

Melissa Atwell was also in line at High Street Baptist Church.  The college student in St. Louis drove all the way to Springfield to cast her ballot…

"I think it's important to use our right to vote cause so many people don't have that right, and the lady I work for, she's 86-years-old, and I take care of her, and she told me that we couldn't always vote and so we should practice it now."

She says one issue she’s concerned about is the availability of student loans.

Voters at Phelps Center for Gifted Education were able to walk right up to sign in this morning.  Only 182 people had cast ballots there as of 10:15 this morning.

Phyllis Shipman is the supervisor at that polling location.  The 80-year-old started working elections 40 years ago at what was then the SMSU Field House, otherwise known as McDonald Arena.   She expected more people to vote at Phelps later in the day…

"The college kids don't get up too early," said,  (laughs) so things will really pick up."

Shipman wishes turnout these days was better, but she’s encouraged by the young families she sees coming in to vote.

And she relishes seeing the regulars who’ve come back to cast ballots over the years.

When this reporter went to vote, the line snaked around a small lobby area at the East Grand Church of Christ.  Voters there had waited an hour and a half to cast ballots.  But when Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff appeared and began helping out, the line began to move faster.  My voting wait?  50 minutes.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.