Several polling locations are reporting exceptionally high voter turnout in our area. Chief Inspectors in Fitchburg say they're well ahead of the statewide turnout estimate of 70%.
At the Fitchburg Community Center polling location, workers counted 3,720 votes as of 6:00 p.m. That number includes both in-person ballots cast so far and all of their absentee ballots. That's roughly 93% of the 4,000 registered voters at that polling location, and that was with two hours still left to go.
A loud cheer rang through the polling place when workers processed their final absentee ballot just before 6:30 p.m. They worked throughout the entire day to process more than 550 early ballots.
In the village of Oregon, the ratio of absentee ballots was even higher. Chief inspectors tell 27 News nearly 2,000 early ballots were processed in the village. The total number of registered voters is just under 7,100.
Poll workers say absentee voters helped with the lines on Election Day. Most locations, including all four polling places in Fitchburg, and all three locations in Oregon, had lines throughout the first two hours on Election Day, but poll workers say the rest of the day was relatively slow.
Besides seeing a large turnout, poll workers also tell 27 News they're seeing a lot of young voters, many of which are voting for the first time.
For Fitchburg resident Sam Crook, it was his first time voting in a presidential election. He voted in the Fall primary and said he was excited for Election Day, but admits his excitement soured after he saw the two candidates who came out of that primary.
"It was kind of surprising going into this like, I was so excited, like, I finally get to vote in a presidential election. And then I was like, oh wow," Crook says.
Despite his frustration with the two top presidential candidates, Crook felt it was his duty as an American to cast his vote.
"It's really important to me and it's so great that I can make a difference now that I can vote," Crook says.
Stephanie Munoz says it was her 2nd presidential election. She barely missed out on the 2008 election, but was able to cast her vote in 2012.
"As a member of the Latino community, I know that a lot of my peers and members of my community are unfortunately unable to vote. For me, I'm doing it for those people I know personally who are affected by the inability to vote," Munoz says.
Immigration issues were the biggest reason why Munoz felt compelled to cast her vote Tuesday afternoon. She has spent the last few weeks encouraging others in the Latino community to go out and vote as well.
"Not only encouraging Latinos, but other young professionals such as myself. To really, go out and vote and make a difference," Munoz says.
Poll workers in Fitchburg also dealt with a close call at the Fire Station 2 polling place. Chief Inspectors were concerned Kapec Road wouldn't be open in time for Election Day. They were pleasantly surprised Tuesday morning when they walked in at 6:00 a.m. and saw that the road was open for traffic.
"Yesterday that road was totally torn up, big holes. I was shocked when I drove in this morning and saw that it was actually paved over. They guaranteed it was going to be open and it is. They did a great job," Chief Inspector Patrick McCutchon says.
The road construction didn't appear to have much of an affect on voter turnout. McCutchon says they had two people waiting outside the polling location an hour before they opened.
He says a line of voters stretched outside the door of Fire Station 2 for the first two hours on Election Day.
For the latest news and information on the election, stay tuned to WAOW.com and the Newsline 9 Facebook page Page.
Election results can be found here.