The reduction in voting locations in Finney County didn’t seem to stop voters from hitting the polls Tuesday.
To save money, the county combined some wards and precincts, which reduced the number of voting machines needed to buy and eliminated voting locations in Plymell, Kalvesta and Pierceville.
Voters from those precincts were required to go to the 4-H building, 309 Lake Ave., in Garden City, instead of voting in their own towns as they had been doing in previous years.
Different tables were set up in the building, each representing a different precinct or ward.
Ann Bilberry, a county election worker at the Plymell table, said voting was a little slow in the morning but picked up during lunch, when people had time off from work.
She said that some Plymell residents decided to mail in ballots this year instead of physically going to the polls in Garden City on Election Day.
Bilberry believed turnout might be steady this year if enough voters were interested in the “hot” races, including the competition for state senator between Republican incumbent Larry Powell and John Doll.
The number of voters did not seem to be noticeably less than previous years, she said. Voting fluctuates from year to year. By mid-afternoon, about 42 voters had been to the table, but a few years ago, only 17 voters came the entire day, she said.
Gina Parr, another election worker, said many people who live in the county work in Garden City and simply came by in the early morning before they went to work.
Nancy Woods, a voter from Plymell, said she works in the city and stopped to vote during her lunch break.
Five polling locations in Garden City also were eliminated: the Senior Center for Wards 2 and 9, the Garden Valley Retirement Village for Wards 5 and 6, Pershing Manor for Ward 10, the First United Methodist Church for Wards 7 and 8, and the St. James Lutheran Church for Wards 11 and 12.
Sue Knight, a poll worker sitting at the Ward 2 table, said the number of voters appeared the same as in the past, though the Senior Center, where Ward 2 residents used to vote, is more centrally located in the city than the 4-H building.
Elsa Ulrich, Finney County clerk, said she didn’t think that eliminating polling locations in Garden City would cause voters to shy away from the polls, saying that voters were coming by the county clerk’s office to vote at the machines there or voted early by mail.