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Election day 2 p.m.: Some Obama supporters concern election authority

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 4, 2008 - Outside many polling places are Obama supporters in lime-green T-shirts that read "Voter Assistance."

A few of them have been the lone problem so far in St. Charles County, said Rich Chrismer, director of elections for St. Charles County. Chrismer said the volunteers were implying they worked for the election authority, which they don't, and there was some intimidation as people were on their way in to vote.

He called the Justice Department and reported the incident.

In Lake Saint Louis, David Leavitt of Wentzville voted at the National Equestrian Center. The wait took between 35 minutes and an hour. It took Leavitt an hour, and he wasn't happy about it. "I mean, I guess it could be worse."

Most frustrating to Leavitt, though, was the long line and voter booths only half full. "Are they broken?" he joked.

It seemed to take election workers at the registration table too long, Leavitt said. "I mean, this is ridiculous."

Elizabeth Franklin of Lake Saint Louis saw the same thing, but supposed the fault lay on voters who didn't have the right information or weren't in the right place.

But for Jim Schallon of Lake Saint Louis, the wait was nothing like what he'd seen at 9 a.m. in the morning. "It was out the door, so I was like, no, I think I'm gonna come back." He did this afternoon, and waited about a half hour.

Overall in the county, things have moved smoothly, Chrismer said. "I'm worried it's going so well."

As of 1 p.m., he'd visited eight or nine polling places and more than 50 percent of registered voters at those places had already voted. That doesn't count absentee ballots.

Around 3:30 p.m., Chrismer expects lines to swell again, but anyone in line by 7 p.m. will vote.

Susan Dietrich knows both John McCain and Barrack Obama are Christians, like her, but she voted for McCain because he reflects her conservative values and she just doesn't know enough about Obama.

"And I feel like John McCain has been a strong, patriotic American," she said.

If elected, the 55-year-old Lake Saint Louis resident and bakery employee wants McCain to live up to his reputation. "I would like McCain to be true to himself, true to his values. At his age, what does he have to lose?"

She wants him to focus on domestic issues such as job creation and the well-being of the middle class.

Mildred Shelton, 75, of Lake Saint Louis, cast her vote for Obama and gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon today, and she wants to see change from both.

The retired Lake Saint Louis resident wants solutions to the economy and the end of the war. If elected, she suggests Obama take Ronald Reagan's approach and "go to the people on TV when he wants a bill passed."

Kristen Hare

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