In the early morning hours of Election Day in Wilton Manors, campaign volunteers and precinct workers reported short wait times and no major problems. Most polling stations had a small number of voters waiting in line to vote before polls opened. “There were lines everywhere,” said commission candidate Celeste Ellich.
But by 8 a.m., an hour after Election Day officially began, voters were walking in and out of their polling stations without having to wait.
Greg Helser said he was in and out in 90 seconds at Manor Pines.
“I was prepared but it was real easy. I expected a big line. There were no lines. No nothing. It was fantastic.” Sandy Harris, who was campaigning for one of the judicial candidates at Hagen Park, said she only witnessed “dribs and drabs” of voters. “They go in, they come out rather quickly. So I guess things are running rather efficiently.” Tim Conard, who was campaigning for Mayor Gary Resnick at Manor Pines, said things were “pretty slow.”
That may be mostly due to high voter turnout during the two-week early voting period.
According to the Broward Supervisor of Elections Office, 5,797 of the city’s 9,013 registered voters either voted early or by mail. The rest of Wilton Manors’ voters have five polling places to choose from: Hagen Park, Somerset Academy, First Christian Church, Wilton Manors Elementary School and Manor Pines.
Broward broke records for early voting. And while Wilton Manors City Hall was one of the lowest-used early voting locations compared with others [11,406 ballots were cast there], the city is leading the county in turnout percentage. Of the city’s five polling stations, only one was below 70 percent – Somerset at 62 percent. The rest saw turnout percentages of 70 or higher.
The rest of Broward’s cities that had polling turnouts of 70 percent or higher only had one or two that high.
Previously, the city had nine polling stations but they were consolidated. Resnick said he was glad the number of polling places was reduced. “It saves us a lot of money.”