ave been manning the polls together for eight years at St. Michael Catholic Church in Hays.
Tuesday’s voting in the primary election had gone “pretty smooth,” they reported, as they delivered ballots to the Ellis County Clerk in the Ellis County Administrative Center on Main Street a little after the polls closed at 7 p.m.
“We had 25 percent of the registered voters,” Phillips said. “We think it’s good.”
St. Michael’s was second of 10 polling places in the county to deliver their ballots to County Clerk Donna Maskus, who had her election workers set up in the basement of the building at 718 Main St.
“Every paper ballot has to be looked at,” Maskus said, gesturing to the 12 workers at the tables who count the write-in names on the ballots. “They make the decision, what was the intent of the writer? Because some writing is hard to read.
This year’s write-ins included “real people,” but also some not-so-real contenders such as Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse, Someone else, Me and You.
Of the county’s 17,249 registered voters, Maskus reported that 4,213 cast ballots in the primary. Of those, 2,948 were Republican and 1,265 were Democrats.
“We had over 300,” said Karen Day, an election worker from the city of Ellis who delivered ballots to Maskus. “It was steady.”
Edie Tholen and Carol Freitag from Victoria said much the same.
“We were steady all day long,” Tholen said. “We had very few down times.”
Maskus had unofficial results from early voting, electronic voting and paper ballots available around 11 p.m. with only a few snags in the evening’s process. Early in the counting, a misplaced key for a ballot box from Schoenchen meant the padlock had to be cut off to retrieve the two paper ballots inside. Later, the county’s “650 scanner” that reads the paper ballots at about 300 a minute was acting up.
“I worked with the company on the phone and we got it moving again,” Maskus said.
Prior to the primary, employees from the Ellis County Public Works Department set up the 67 units used for electronic voting at the polling places. They will also take them down, Maskus said, noting her gratitude for their work.
Celia Nicholson, Hays, and her co-workers at the Smoky Hill Country Club poll, said they’d been up since about 5:15 a.m. to get their location open in time. After they dropped off their ballots they wrapped up their day.
“I’m going to go home and take my shoes off,” Nicholson said.