High Turnout in Medford, Despite Polling Place Confusion
Redistricting has many confused.
Election officials in Medford reported high turnouts through mid-day Tuesday, despite many voters showing up to the wrong polling location.
As of 11:30 a.m., 731 had cast ballots at Ward 8, Precinct 1 located at the Medford Senior Center. About 2,000 voters are registered to the precinct.
"Heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy," Precinct Clerk Connie Murphy said of the turnout late Tuesday morning. "There was a line of 20 people in the hall at 7 this morning."
But there was confusion Tuesday morning stemming from redistricting. District lines were changed statewide at the start of 2011 to reflect changes in population and projected population. The presidential primary was held with the new districts, but that election saw only a 12.5 percent turnout.
"People that haven't voted in four years are going to the wrong place," Murphy said.
Laura Hankard, Warden for Ward 1, Precinct 1, said she had seen the same issue.
"Big time," she said mid-day Tuesday. "It's been terrible with that."
Medford resident Hasunda Iapicca walked to McGlynn Middle School Tuesday morning, only to find that her polling place had changed to a location she was unfamiliar with.
"I don't know where to go," she said.
Iapicca was eventually directed to her new polling place at Mystic Towers, Ward 7, Precinct 1, about a quarter of a mile away.
The warden there, Carmen Modugno, said he'd been experiencing issues with voters unaware of the precinct changes all morning. The city sent out fliers to residents with a polling place change last year, but the message didn't seem to get to everyone.
"It's because they don't pay attention at their houses," Modugno said. "It's not the city's fault. They did everything they could to notify people."
Despite the confusion, polling places were on pace for high turnouts. A total of 528 ballots had been cast at Ward 7, Precinct 1 as of about 12 p.m., 584 at Ward 7, Precinct 2 and 567 at Ward 1, Precinct 1.