Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cheltenham update: Elkins Park voters talk

By 6 p.m..the Elkins Park polling place on Ashbourne Road was packed with voters. Two lines that had 12 or fewer people an hour earlier had more than doubled as people finished their workdays and went to vote.

Cheltenham update: Elkins Park voters talk

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Edward Colimore reports:

6:20 p.m.  

By 6 p.m..the Elkins Park polling place on Ashbourne Road was packed with voters. Two lines that had 12 or fewer people an hour earlier had more than doubled as people finished their workdays and went to vote.

Several voters in the largely African-American community wore Obama t-shirts. Election judges said they often see no more than 100 to 200 voters all day at a primary, but that they had seen six or seven times that number today.

One judge, Peggy Epps, said the ballot had been challenging to the elderly and sight-impaired because its print was small and the Obama and Clinton delegates were commingled into one column.

“People go in for five minutes and squint, said Epps. “It’s taking people time.”

Earlier in the day, shortly after the polls had opened, two of the voting machines had broken down, but emergency ballots were issued, said election judge Karin Helstrom.

“I was busy during morning and lunch,” she said, “and now it’s busy in the evening.”

One of the slower voters was Peggy Middleton, 35, who took 20 minutes to vote. And when she exited the polling place at 6:10 p.m., she had mixed feelings about what she had done. Middleton liked both Clinton and Obama, and could not decide until she was in the voting booth.

She voted for Obama but “felt bad for Hillary and split the delegates – half for each candidate.” She said that the recent attacks by Clinton on Obama ultimately had swayed her decision,

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Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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