[Editor's Note: 22 percent of registered voters have cast votes as of 7 p.m.]
The polls were jumping this afternoon at Hawkes Field House, as Reading residents came out to cast their ballots for the 2012 local election as well as the presidential primary.
A total of 3,609 Readingites had voted as of 1 p.m., according to voter turnout data posted at the polling place, with Precinct 1 boasting the highest turnout at 582 voters, while Precinct 6 was bringing up the rear with 351 voters turning up.
As of 1 p.m., 10.6 percent of all Reading registered voters had cast ballots.
Here’s how the numbers looked by precinct as of 1 p.m.Precinct Votes Cast Precinct 1 582 Precinct 2 411 Precinct 3 371 Precinct 4 452 Precinct 5 485 Precinct 6 351 Precinct 7 414 Precinct 8 513 TOTALS 3,609
While still too early to speculate about who is leading the way in the Republican or Green-Rainbow party primaries, Reading Patch is now confident enough to call the democratic primary for President Obama.
Levity aside, Patch spoke with voters as they left the polls this afternoon to find out what issues were bringing them out to vote in the primary and local elections, and here’s what they had to say:
Mary Ann and Robert Iannaco, from Precinct 6, both cast ballots for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the republican primary, and said the reason is because they believe he is the man who can unseat Obama.
“I want Obama out,” said Mary Ann Iannaco. “[Romney] is the man who can do it.” Robert Iannaco agreed with his wife’s assessment and added that, based on the way the country is going, he felt Romney was the man to turn things around.
Speaking about the town election, Mary Ann Iannaco said that one of the reasons she came out to vote was because she “likes the idea of there being a set term limit for people in office.”
While not divulging who she voted for in the local elections, her comments indicate it may not have been the incumbents.
Laura Monahan, of Precinct 5, told Patch that she voted for Ron Paul, because her husband works for the government, and is concerned about adverse effects that a Romney presidency may have on his job.
“I just think he may be more independently minded than some of the other candidates,” she said.
As for the town election, Monahan said she finds the way local government functions to be satisfactory and opted to vote for incumbents wherever possible.
Precinct 8 voter Kenan Cooper, a registered democrat, told Patch he hopes to see Obama face Mitt Romney in the general election, employing some “the devil you know” logic to reach his decision.
“Personally, I want to see [Obama] go up against Romney,” said Cooper. “Because I could stomach it if Romney were elected. It wouldn’t be the end of the world for a lot of people if he were elected.”
With election day, for prospective town officials, comes the waiting. Time to reflect on the campaign and see how it all shakes out. For RMLD Board of Commissioners candidate Marsie West, much will depend on how much concern voters have about the utility's Renewable Energy Certificates.
West told Patch that she essentially ran a one-issue campaign, and she remains as steadfast in her belief that selling the RECs is the best course of action as she ever was. But all that matters now is what the voters have to say, and how effectively the candidates disseminated their respective messages.
"I felt like it went okay," said West about the campaigning process. "I've never run a campaign before; I'm probably not very good at it"
As far as what her chances are, that is tough to predict. "I can't tell. It's really tough to tell," she said.
With just a few short hours until polls close across the state, town government hopefuls will be anxiously awaiting the results, while, judging from the lack of campaigning that occurred in Massachusetts this election cycle, it would seem GOP candidates have all but handed the state to Romney and all that remains is to shake who gets how many delegates.
Watch this space, as Patch will be bringing you the complete results of Reading's local election later this evening.