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Long waits greet voters at island polls

November 7, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The three precincts on the island had a continuous flow of people waiting to cast their vote on Election Day last week, with some waits more than three hours.

JoAnna Maglio, the clerk at precinct 21 at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Catholic Church, said the line began forming down the sidewalk and into the parking lot before the polls opened at 7 a.m. on Nov. 6.

"I have never seen so many people," she said. "It's amazing."

When the rain began to pour down Tuesday afternoon, Maglio said she brought the line inside of the church to get people out of the elements.

"I have never had this many people backed up," she said of the line that remained constant throughout the day.

The wait at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Catholic Church averaged an hour and a half to two hours. Maglio said the long wait was due to the big turnout to the polls, as well as the lengthy four-page ballot.

Norma Salter, precinct 14 clerk at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church, said although they had a crowd all day long, it was nothing they could not handle. She said the average wait at her location was an hour and a half.

"Up until about 3 p.m. it was steady," Salter said.

The crowd, Salter said, tried coming in to vote at 6 Tuesday morning. She said they were all so nice and seemed to be having a good time due to their laughter and chatter.

"I was really surprised," Salter said.

She said this is the largest crowd she has seen at the polls.

The longest wait occurred at Pine Island United Methodist Church last Tuesday.

Precinct 15 clerk Cindy Lignelli said there was a crowd waiting when they opened the doors at 7 a.m. and it remained continuous all day long.

"It's been extremely busy," she said.

The average wait was anywhere from two to three hours outside and another 15 minute wait inside.

George Fey was one of the many who stood outside of the Pine Island United Methodist Church last week.

"It's ridiculous," he said of the long wait.

Fey had already been waiting an hour and a half to cast his vote a little before 5 p.m.

"I was told it was a three-hour wait," he said.

Although he knew the wait was going to be long, Fey said he would stay in line for as long as it took because he was determined to cast his vote.

He believes the reason the crowds poured out to the polls Tuesday was because of numerous important issues.

"People are tired of what's going on," Fey said. "Someone's gotta do something."

This is the first time Fey has voted at the Methodist Church. He said in years past he voted at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church.

Fran Tangman also waited in line at Pine Island United Methodist Church Tuesday afternoon. She said she stopped by the precinct three times last week to cast her vote, once at 7 a.m., again at 12:15 p.m. and then the final time at 3:30 p.m.

Tangman was a little discouraged of the long wait.

"They need more scanners," she said.

The local election results are as follows:

Kenneth Honc, who received 2,865 votes, or 72.96 percent, was elected for the second seat of the Matlacha Pine Island Fire District. Estill Gatewood Jr. received 1,062 votes or 27.04 percent.

District 1 Commissioner John Manning and District 5 Commissioner Frank Mann were re-elected in Tuesday's election. Cecil Pendergrass won in the District 2; Larry Kiker won in the District 3.

Manning took 191,187 votes, or about 96.27 percent of the total votes cast. Challenger Gerard David Jr., a write-in candidate, scored 4,926 votes.

Mann took 141,977 votes, or 62.63 percent of the total votes. His challenger, Matt Miller, who ran on no party, received 84,722 votes - 37.37 percent.

Pendergrass took 151,102 votes, or 67.98 percent of the total votes cast. John Sawyer III came in second with 70,532 votes - 31.73 percent - while third place went to Neal Moore, who received 403 votes of the total figure.

Kiker took 141,144 votes, or 63.67 percent of the total votes cast. Running on no party affiliation, challenger Charlie Whitehead scored 80,540 votes.

Sheriff Mike Scott won his third term with 165,853 votes, or 66.02 percent of the total votes cast. Challenger Lee Bushong claimed 84,802 votes or 33.76 percent of the total votes cast.

Write-in candidate Christian Meister scored third place with 348 votes.

Incumbent Lee County School Board member Jeanne Dozier won with 100,681 votes or 52.42 percent of the total votes cast. Her challenger Robert Chilmonik had 91,376 votes or 47.58 percent of the total votes cast.

The tax collector position went to Larry Hart who received 166,211 votes or 71.53 percent of the total votes cast. James Chandler had 66,168 votes or 28.47 percent of the total votes cast.

The Lee County Mosquito Control District area one went to Melissa Dortch with 91,566 votes, or 51.62 percent. Lawrence Murphy received 85,809 votes or 48.38 percent.

Marilyn Stout was elected for Lee Memorial Health System district 1 seat (120,258 votes or 46.11), Sandy Cohen was elected for the district 3 seat (96,975 votes or 36.45 percent) and Jessica Carter was elected for the district 5 seat (74,424 votes or 27.94 percent).



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