Typical low turnout on South Shore
By 7 p.m. Tuesday only 219 voters of the 975 registered in the Sierra Community Church precinct had come into the polling place to cast their ballot.
“I predict each precinct will have close to a quarter of the registered voters actually vote,” said Inspector Fornee Gustwick. “And that’s doing pretty good. I’ve been working at this precinct since the fall of 1994 and this is one of the best turnouts I’ve seen.”
Poll workers also pointed out that the 219 only included voters who physically placed their ballot Tuesday. They had no idea how many voters took advantage of the absentee ballots. Still even with that disclaimer, poll workers were disappointed with Tahoe’s showing.
“I don’t think I’ve ever missed an election,” said Betty Thompson, a Tahoe resident of 35 years. “We couldn’t wait to vote.”
“I think the last few generations haven’t raised their children to understand and exercise their right to vote,” Gustwick said. “Both of my grandmothers remembered when women weren’t allowed to vote, and I’m a Native American, my people weren’t allowed to vote for a long time. I’m not likely to give it up.”
Juliette Tanzi rode her bike over to the polls with her son, Vincent, 12.
“Can he watch?” she asked the inspector before heading to a station.
“Cool,” Vincent said, sidling up to his parent after receiving an affirmative reply from the poll workers.
“I consider it my right. If you don’t vote you don’t have a right to complain. I really liked the fact that we got to cross vote. It’s about time,” Tanzi said about the open primary.
At 6 p.m. 214 voters of 916 registered had stopped by the Hope Lutheran Church precinct to vote.
“People are getting disillusioned,” one poll worker said. “They think their vote doesn’t count. Things were much different when I was younger.”
Sue Rutherdale, a 20-year South Lake Tahoe resident, said she can’t remember missing an election in 26 years.
“You can’t complain if you don’t put your two cents in,” Rutherdale said.
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