No Sandy Slowdown at Mendham and Chester Polls

Residents flock to the polls, whether they have power or not.

While Sandy may have messed with many plans over the course of the last eight days, the storm formerly known as hurricane did nothing to impact presence at the polls on election Tuesday 2012.

Over in Chester Township, where the majority of residents are without power, Police Chief Wayne Martini said the challenge was keeping the traffic flowing smoothly as there was a heavy volume of voters all being funneled to the Municipal Building to vote.

"Today is about getting everyone in and out safely," Martini said.

Chester Township residents had to negotiate a network of side streets to get to the consolidated polling location as many of the roads are still impassable and traffic lights were still being brought online.

Things were going smoothly over at Ralston Firehouse and Brookside ESB Building in Mendham Township where voting went on as normally scheduled in all districts. Workers manning the booths said that there was a steady stream of traffic all day and turnout was high. 

At Monday night's meeting of the Mayor and Council in Mendham Borough, the council authorized the deployment of an officer to watch the the consolidated polling location at the Mendham Firehouse.

The parking lot was full of cars in and out for the majority of the day and Mendham Borough residents, whether they had power or not, were ready to vote.

"We have no power, but I was coming to vote not matter what," said Cory Viola.

Viola said that the storm didn't alter her plans and that her family was getting by due to their "good generator."

Valerie Motylewski had just gotten power back before making her way to the polls.

"It wasn't going to stop me," Motylewski said.

In Chester Borough, Mayor Bob Davis reported over 50 percent of registered voters had arrived to cast their ballot by midday. Ellen Runyon, a social work student at Rutgers University who has been running the Borough Hall warming center since the storm saw a steady stream of voters since the polls opened at 6 a.m.

Cassandra Cline, a volunteer working the polls for Chester Borough said that the hurricane wasn't stopping or even slowing folks from voting.

"We have had very few breaks," Cline said. "We've been busy all day."

Cline also said she was leased to see so many people take advantage of the provisional ballot, especially those from out of town.

"You should have seen all the guys working on the power lines from Ohio Electric in here voting," Cline said. "Kudos to the government for allowing them to vote with the provisional ballot."

Sandy may have stopped a lot of people in their tracks last week, but this week, the democratic process trumped tragedy.


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