Share This Page

Some Westmoreland polling locations stay open until 9 p.m.

| Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 8:24 p.m.
Tribune-Review
Olivia Zalewski, 3, of Murrysville walks with her sister, Madeline,1, while they wait in line for their mother, Stephanie Zalewski, to vote at the precinct at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
A long line of people waited for about 45 minutes to cast their votes in Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Morning light casts shadows of voters waiting at the West Point Volunteer Fire Department polling place in Hempfield on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. The wait at 8 a.m. was about 30 minutes, and lines were steady all day. Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Voters cast shadows while waiting in line at the polling precinct at Christ Lutheran Church near Sardis, a section of Murrysville, on Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Adam Drakulic of Murrysville reads 'The Hunger Games' while he waits in a long line for about 45 minutes to cast his vote at the precinct at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville on Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Brenden Rusiewicz, 4, of Murrysville plays a video game while waiting in line with his mother, Heather, so she can cast her vote at the polling precinct at Christ Lutheran Church near Sardis, a section of Murrysville, on Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Ted and Nancy Benson of Murrysville wait in line to vote at the polling precinct at Christ Lutheran Church near Sardis, a section of Murrysville, on Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Voters waiting in line are reflected in a window at the polling precinct at Christ Lutheran Church near Sardis, a section of Murrysville, on Tuesday Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Tribune-Review
Motorists on Harrison Avenue in Jeannette pass a sign at Fox's Pizza urging them to vote on Tuesday Nov. 06, 2012. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

Turnout was heavy across Westmoreland County, where voters in some precincts waited in line for nearly two hours to cast ballots.

In Unity, Murrysville, Rostraver and numerous other large precincts, as many as 100 voters were in line at 8 p.m. Those polling places were kept open until the last voter cast a ballot, said county election spokesman Dan Stevens.

Unofficial results late Tuesday indicated that about 67 percent of the county's 238,000 registered voters cast ballots, less than the 72 percent who voted in the 2008 presidential election.

“There are a good number of precincts that will stay open,” Stevens said just before 8 p.m. “It's the most we've ever had due to the large turnout we've experienced.”

All polling locations closed by 9 p.m.

Earlier Tuesday, the line inside SonRise Church snaked through the lobby and down a long hallway like an amusement park ride queue.

“But there's nothing fun for her at the other end,” Amy Amond said about her 7-year-old daughter, Katelyn, who waited with her 1-year-old sister, Abby, for Amond to vote in the Unity precinct.

Throughout the day, voters and election workers reported heavy turnout and long lines that harkened back to 2008, when President Obama was elected.

Jon Winwood, 29, of Hempfield waited about 30 minutes to vote in the West Point fire hall. He said that's typical at the polling place in presidential election years.

“A day off work — what else would I rather do?” Winwood joked, as he stood in line outside the fire hall.

For poll workers, there was no break.

“We've been trying to move them through as fast as we can,” said West Point judge of elections Debbie Massafra.

The third time was the charm for Ted and Nancy Benson of Murrysville. The persistent couple went to Christ's Lutheran Church three times before the line dwindled enough that they could vote.

But they didn't mind.

“We like seeing it packed,” Nancy Benson said.

In SonRise Church, Amond said her husband, Chad, went to the polling place when it opened about 7 a.m. and waited for an hour and 40 minutes. She expected her wait with two of her daughters to be about 45 minutes.

“This is not too bad. At least it's inside,” she said.

At other sites, lines snaked outside buildings, though no one complained about the cool but sunny weather.

“There is no reason to stay home. It's not wet. There's a little nip in the air, but you put your jacket on,” said Paula Yablonsky of Murrysville, a poll watcher for the Obama campaign who was monitoring at Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church.

There, Chip and Beth Townsend waited about 45 minutes around noon to cast ballots at the precinct where they have voted for about 30 years.

“It's a much larger turnout than we've ever seen,” Chip Townsend said.

Judge of elections Jack Olhoeft said 150 people were waiting for the polls to open at 7 a.m., likening the turnout to 2008.

“It's been a madhouse ever since,” he said.

Jennifer Reeger and Rich Cholodofsky are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reeger can be reached at jreeger@tribweb.com or 724-836-6155. Cholodofsky can be reached at rcholodofsky@tribweb.com or 724-830-6293.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.