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Yuba-Sutter voter turnout was greater than in 2008
The presidential election drew Yuba-Sutter voters to the polls in large numbers on Tuesday.
Heavier-than-expected turnout was reported in both counties.
"More activity than I ever would have expected," Yuba County Clerk-Recorder Terry Hansen said late Tuesday afternoon. "We've never seen this kind of activity from voters before."
Hansen expected to exceed the 70 percent turnout predicted going into Tuesday's races and Yuba County turnout would exceed 2008 numbers, but may not quite hit 80 percent.
Final turnout numbers were not available late Tuesday.
"It's been pretty crazy," Sutter County Clerk-Recorder Donna Johnston said. "We've just been buried with people out there."
However, heavy early turnout slowed throughout the day in Sutter County and Johnston said it was unlikely turnout would exceed 70 percent.
"We still have a significant number of vote-by-mail and absentee ballots to process," Johnston said.
They had a few long lines at some precincts but there have been no major problems. Despite heavy turnout, both county election departments operated smoothly, officials said.
Most of the interest centered around the national race, according to comments from voters questioned while visiting polling places Tuesday morning.
"I'm more focused on the president and congress and not so much the little elections," Yuba City voter Tina Monette said. "I'm concerned with women's values and rights. Especially with my young daughter, I want to make sure she is protected in the future."
Tuesday was the first time that 29-year-old Yuba City resident Lauren Stratford cast a ballot.
"I just wanted to see my vote make a difference this time," Stratford said. "With everything going on with (the national) economy, I felt like it was more important this year."
But, not everyone was focused on the race for the White House.
Marysville's Cheryl Bottum said Measure T, a Yuba County ballot issue that seeks to preserve agriculture and open space land.
"That seems to be the biggest issue this time," Bottum said. "I'm more interested in state and local issues and not so much on the national."
If approved, the measure would force a Yuba County public vote whenever development would require changing a zoning designation to the county's General Plan.
Most local voters, however, were focused the race between Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. The race attracted local voters like Linda's Kenneth Stewart, who said he doesn't always vote, but felt there were more important issues on the ballot this time around.
"It was the amount of political campaign advertising I saw this year that kind of woke me up," Stewart said. "I think there are some things that affect me and affect kids, like educational issues, business loop holes and the president."
CONTACT Rob Parsons at email@example.com or 749-4785.