Turnout in Ocean County

Jacqueline L. Urgo reports:

6 p.m.

Although voter turnout was heavier than usual in the parts of southern Ocean County encompassed by the Third Congressional District, unlike more urban areas of the region, those going to the polls found no long lines or extended waits.

"I didn’t think it would be bad here and it wasn’t," said Mary Lee Schulze, 63, of Barnegat Township, an Obama supporter who said she voted a straight Democratic ticket at the Barnegat Township Community Center.

"I got right in. But I could tell that a lot more people than normal had been out voting," Schulze said. "I think more people are inspired to come out in this election and make their voices heard."

By late afternoon, in neighboring Little Egg Harbor Township, it appeared that more a third of the municipality’s 13,764 registered voters had already come out to the township’s polling places, according to a poll worker.

Numbers in Barnegat Township were unavailable, but it appeared that turnout was much larger than usual, a poll watcher said.

"We had heavy turnout early in the morning and I expected that as people get off work it’ll start picking up again," said John Riggins, 71, who was working the polls at the Mystic Shores Club House in Little Harbor Township. "I’ve been involved with elections for more than 40 years and I never remember such a turnout. I think it’s wonderful for the process."

Deb Miller, 37, a McCain supporter from Little Egg Harbor Township, said she split her ticket to vote for John Adler for Congress because she doesn’t agree with opponent Chris Myers on several key issues, including the environment.

"I am a registered Republican, but I don’t always vote straight down the ticket," Miller said. "I’m very concerned about offshore drilling here."

But Ron Bell, 58, of the Tuckerton section of Little Egg Harbor Township, a longtime supporter of Jim Saxton, said he voted for Myers based on his affiliation with the same party that Saxton had long represented in the district.

"Jim Saxton was our man for a long time and I’m hoping Chris Myers can pick up the mantle," Bell said.

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