The stream of voters at St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church had remained steady all day, poll watcher Linda Adams said, although she expected to get a rush around 5 p.m. as voters stopped by the polling station on their way home from work.
“Mainly we check to make sure that voters have identification or a voter I.D. card, “ Adams said.
She was also on the lookout for anything that violated electioneering laws. For example, she said, a voter who came in to the church wearing a T-shirt endorsing one candidate would be asked to leave or change before they cast his or her ballot. Even political campaign signs on the lawn outside had to be at least 100 feet away.
The poll watcher was also in charge of canceling votes that had been incorrectly submitted.
“When votes come out of the machine and [voters] walk off and leave them, that’s treated as a canceled vote,” she said. Because the voters are unaware that their vote was not processed correctly, they would not return to recast their vote, she said.
Adams only had to cancel one ballot in this way at the St. Stephen’s station, but she said that it had happened at other polling stations as well.
Adams, a volunteer at the Tarrant County GOP headquarters, said this was her first year as a poll watcher, although she had volunteered extensively in the past.
Voter Taylor Jackson was celebrating a different first: 2012 marked the first year she was eligible to vote in a presidential election, although she had participated in local elections before. The student said that her parents were a major influence on her desire to cast her ballot.
“My parents are avid voters, and they’ve obviously been talking about it for forever,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to vote in a presidential election.”
Voting was especially important for younger generations of voters like Jackson, she said.
“I think it’s important for young Americans to get their opinion out there, even if it’s just one vote,” she said. “I feel like I did a small part.”
Holt Daniel, a Fort Worth physician, said he voted straight ticket in the election. He knew from the very beginning of the race which side would be getting his vote, he said.
“In principle, the Republicans tend to take less of my money,” he said.
Apathy was likely the driving factor behind the numbers of residents who did not vote, he said.
“They don’t think their vote matters,” he said. But Daniel disagreed, arguing that citizens had a responsibility to cast their ballot, even if it seemed like a drop in the bucket.
“If you want to maintain a democracy, you have to maintain your responsibility for voting,” he said.