Polling places were generally slow in Morristown Tuesday afternoon as primary election volunteers ate donuts, read books and waited for voters to cast their ballots.
"It's been really slow," said volunteer Robert Giddens, who manned the Ward 4-4 table at Thomas Jefferson School next to Hope Field, who said she had read halfway through a novel since polls had opened at 6 a.m. "In the school elections, we had over 400 [people come out]. So far, we've had 30."
Across the room at Ann Schneider's table, more people–about 90–had been out to cast their ballots by 3 p.m., with figures favoring Republicans in a section of town currently occupied by Alison Deeb, the lone GOP councilwoman. She is being challenged in the primary by Ed France while two Democrats, Denis Ciklic and Jessica Pierson Williamson, also are running for a chance to represent their party in November.
"After school, there's usually more," Schneider said. "And then, around dinner time, too."
Mary Dougherty and her husband, Mayor Tim Dougherty, went through number after number of registered Democratic voters, at 7:30 p.m.
"The fourth ward's been very low," said Mary Dougherty, chairwoman of the Democratic Committee for Morristown, as she made last minute calls for people to vote from the Democratic Headquarters on Washington Street.
"The Fourth Ward's actually not bad," Tim Dougherty said. "Vij (Pawar, Town Attorney) has been crunching numbers."
"There's nothing like pushing until the last minute," Mary Dougherty said as she tried another number.
"Thank you," the mayor said to the phone. "One more! I got one more vote 15 minutes before polls close!"
The First Ward was perhaps the quietest of all wards, since both Democrat Council candidate Christopher Kehrli and Independent incumbent Rebecca Feldman are running unopposed.
"I would have thought it would at least have been a little busier," said volunteer Joanne Lagno. "I just think a lot of people don't pay attention."
The number of voters coming out in Wards 2 and 3 appeared higher than their Ward 1 and 4 neighbors.
"They've been consistent," said Andrena Martin, a volunteer at the Speedwell Firehouse in Ward 2, which has pitted incumbent Raline Smith-Reid against fellow Democrat Toshiba Foster, a member of the Planning Board. Republican Naveen Nadipuram, also of the Second Ward, is running in the primary unopposed.
Like Schneider said of the Fourth Ward, Martin said a lot of people tended to come out after work. By after 3 p.m., about 200 people had showed up at the firehouse, though she had expected more people to come out during lunchtime.
"There's more Democrats [voting here], though that's usually the norm," Martin said.
Over at the Alexander Hamilton School on Mills Street, a few voters popped in and out, while volunteer Douglas Vorolieff munched on a doughnut next to Stefan Armington, one of three Democrats running in the Third Ward primary for the Town Council seat currently held by James E. Smith. Michael Pooler who, like Armington, is on the Planning Board, is also running in the primary. No Republicans currently are running for council seats in the Third Ward.
While finishing up a jelly donut, Armington said he was going to wait to comment on the turnout until all the votes were counted at the end of the day.
"It's been steady," said Jamie Pooler, a poll worker and wife of candidate Michael Pooler. "But, I would still like to see more. I think it'll pick up after five o'clock."
Sitting next to her husband's primary election competition, with both of them smiling, Jamie Pooler just laughed and said, "That's Morristown for you!"