Even with an afternoon lull setting in and the number of voters thinning out, State House District 97 candidate Craig Goldman couldn’t stand still as he stood Tuesday on a sidewalk outside the Tanglewood Elementary polling location.
It was Election Day, and he just couldn’t relax.
“It’s nerve-racking,” said Goldman, who arrived at the location at 6:45 a.m. and planned to stay until polls closed at 7 p.m. “Some candidates like to go to movies. Some go to a spa. I feel if I can ask for every single last vote while the polls are open, then that benefits me.”
Goldman, wearing a campaign t-shirt over a blue button-down, had been trying to reach out to the more than 630 people who had turned out to Tanglewood as of 3:30 p.m.
The location was expected to see increase later in the evening once voters got off work, said Ken Meisner, the precinct’s head polling official.
More than half of those voters came out early when the polls opened at 7 a.m.
“We had a tremendous turnout this morning, and we expect more later in the day,” Meisner said.
The location offered five paper balloting stations and one electronic machine. According to Meisner’s count, about 80 percent of voters used the paper method. A handful of workers were operating the polls Tuesday at Tanglewood, arriving at 5:30 a.m. to set up the stations. Meisner said the workers would likely stay until 8:30 p.m. or later.
Meisner noticed a certain zeal about the voters filing through the location, he said.
“It’s kind of like an occasion for them,” he said. “They insist on coming in, even if they have to use a walker. And I really admire that.”
Goldman, running for his first term in office, didn’t lie – he cared how the vote turned Tuesday, he said. But he also emphasized the importance of voter turnout.
“It’s what millions of people all around the world are fighting for the right to do,” he said. “Too many people in our country take it for granted.”
A few minutes later, a young girl and her father walked out of the polling location in the foyer near the front of the school. As the two walked down the sidewalk near Goldman, she pointed up at him and let out a grin.
“I voted for you,” she said.
Goldman smiled back, said thanks and watched the two walk away.
“That’s just great,” Goldman said with a look on his face as if he had just won the whole election. “That’s why we do this.”