Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
By William Kincaid
Local turnout high; voters pick Romney
  Voters in Mercer and Auglaize counties came out in droves to participate in the presidential election, either casting early absentee ballots or going to the polls Tuesday.
Auglaize County may have had its highest turnout ever at 73.23 percent, board of elections director Carolyn Campbell said this morning. Of the 31,473 registered voters, 23,048 cast ballots.
Voter turnout for the presidential election in 2008 was 70.15 percent.
She believes the presidential race drew the high turnout.
"There were no big school issues or anything like that that would bring out extra people," she said.
Turnout also was strong in Mercer County with a 72.23 percent, which was not as high as in 2008 (75.04 percent). Of the 29,507 registered voters, 21,313 cast ballots.
Final results were posted in Auglaize County about 10 p.m. and about 11 p.m. in Mercer County.
Election officials in Mercer County estimate 518 provisional ballots must be assessed and counted. Campbell estimates there are a little over 500 provisional ballots in Auglaize County.
Campbell reported the polls ran smoothly in Auglaize County. Even a brief mid-morning power outage in Clay Township didn't stop voters from casting ballots as election equipment batteries had enough juice to power the machines.
"Our machines will run three or four hours on their own batteries," she said. "Nobody even noticed the difference."
Poll workers in Mercer County also said Election Day operations went well.
"They were as busy as I've ever seen them," Fort Recovery poll worker Gay Garman said. "All day, we didn't hardly get a break all day ... the people who did it all the time (poll workers) said they were surprised what the turnout was."
Poll rover Bob Brenneman of Montezuma said an ample number of electronic voting machines - at least four machines per precinct - at the Celina polling location kept the lines running efficiently.
"It was kind of amazing; there must have been 130 people when we opened," he said. "It was absolutely incredible. They just voted, got on their way and it just went like clockwork the whole day."
Though President Barack Obama claimed another four-year term, voters in Mercer and Auglaize counties overwhelmingly voted for Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Romney received 16,802 votes to Obama's 5,643 votes in Auglaize County and 16,207 votes to Obama's 4,609 in Mercer County.
Obama won Ohio with a total of 2.67 million votes; Romney received 2.57 million.
Turnout in Ohio was just over 68 percent.
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