TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Election Day is a time a lot of voters in Erie County have been anxiously looking forward to for quite a while. It marks the end of a long, contentious campaign season that left a bitter taste in a lot of people’s mouths.
“Unfortunately, it’s gotten to be a reality show type thing,” said Tonawanda resident Mercy Dela Cruz. “You turn on the news and it’s like ‘what’s up now?’ And it’s kind of scary. That’s not what we want to see.”
Dela Cruz was one of dozens of people who were in line at the Brighton Community Church Tuesday morning before the polls opened for the day.
“I was shocked when I pulled into the parking lot to see how many cars were here,” said another early voter, Lori Pulbrook.
That polling site saw a big rush right at opening time, but continued to see a steady stream of voters coming through throughout the day.
Erie County Elections officials say they’re expecting about 70 percent voter turnout.
That increased volume of voters led to some of the typical Election Day issues with jammed ballots and machines that wouldn’t boot properly. In those cases, voters had to put their ballots in an emergency ballot box to be fed into the machines and counted later when the issues were corrected.
Elections officials also said they had to correct a couple elections workers who were reported for illegally asking some voters for ID.
“Only new registrants who are voting for the first time are required to provide ID,” explained Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “Everyone else, you do not need to provide ID.”
“If there are any issues that you’re dealing with, we’re asking voters to call the Board of Elections,” he added.
The biggest issue most voters who talked to News 4 said they had Tuesday was that they were sick and tired of this campaign season. “It’s about time to be over with,” said Tonawanda resident Carmen Rossi as he was leaving his polling site Tuesday.
“It’s hard to compare it,” agreed another voter, Robert Giroux. “This is crazy this year. this one’s crazy.”
Most voters we talked to say this election season has gone on for too long, and getting to Election Day comes as a relief.
“I look forward to no more mud slinging, and I just am glad it’s over,” Pulbrook said.
“I am so glad. So glad,” said another voter, Angus MacLeod, with a big smile on his face, adding that he was looking forward to getting “back to normal TV”.
First, we have to get through the rest of Election Day, though. Polls are open until 9 p.m. Tuesday night.