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Early voting begins in earnest on Bainbridge Island
October Surprise? Eleventh-hour revelations?
Plenty of Bainbridge Island voters aren’t waiting to find out.
Early voting is on the upswing on the island, and a Review analysis of early ballot returns shows that more than one third of registered voters have already cast ballots for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Ballots received by the Kitsap County Elections Division one week before Election Day show that 34.9 percent of Bainbridge Island voters — or 6,281 voters — have already cast their ballots.
Bainbridge’s turnout through Tuesday was better than the county as a whole. Election officials said that countywide, 49,653 ballots had been returned by Oct. 30. That’s approximately 32.5 percent of the county’s more than 152,000 voters.
Five of Bainbridge’s 22 precincts already have a turnout rate above 40 percent; Azalea (43 percent), Wing Point (43), Fernclilff (40) and Seabold (40).
Early voters contacted at random this week said they largely did their research before their ballots came in the mail, and saw no reason for waiting before sending them back.
“We knew who we were going to vote for; we figured we might as well get it done,” said Stephen Davis.
Bainbridge voters said their choices for candidates were guided by more than one issue. Some have been talked about this election cycle. Others, not.
“We’re concerned about the economy. Not so much the economy being in bad shape, but the huge divide growing between the
1 percent and the 99 percent,” Davis said.
“We’re also concerned about the huge amount of money that’s poured into politics with the super PACs,” he said, referring to political action committees that now have unlimited spending power due to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
“I think it’s corrupting the system. It’s a travesty,” he added.
Mark Leese said he has always voted early.
“I was just brought up in the English business way, and anything that comes in on my desk I like to reply in a timely fashion,” he said.
For Leese, the economy and women’s health issues are big issues in this election.
“I do not believe that women’s health issues, abortion, should be on the political agenda at all. It only happens in the USA,” he added.
“And I would not vote for any candidate or party that wishes to restrict women’s rights,” he said.
Dale Panteleeff said he has always been an early voter, but not a completely partisan one.
“I cross the line. I vote for the person; I don’t just vote one party,” Panteleeff said.
Panteleeff said one issue he was closing watching is R-74 the referendum on same-sex marriage.
“For me, it’s the gay marriage thing. I’m against it,” he said.
He said his mind had also been set early on a choice for president, and he wasn’t budging on that, either.
“I just want to give the president another chance, another four more years,” Panteleef said.
Christine Farrell also said she would vote for Obama.
“He’s doing the best he can. The economy wasn’t his fault,” Farrell said. “It’s going to take a while to get back on track.”