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Energy is high at polls
When the doors opened at Memorial Hall in Willows on Tuesday, people were already in line to cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential election.
At City Hall, booths were occupied with people completing ballots, while poll workers answered questions and guided voters to open stations.
It was the most energetic elections many remember having in a long time.
"We more than doubled our numbers," said Cynthia Connelley, who worked the polls at City Hall. "It was steady all day, often with people coming in all at once. I think we only had two lulls."
One of the many differences between 2012 and previous elections, is the number of young and first-time voters, election officials said.
"It think it's fabulous," Connelley said. "Everyone was really upbeat."
Although more than half of county residents vote by mail, a large number of vote-by-mail ballots were walked into precincts all across the county.
At the Orland Fire Department, more than 300 vote-by-mail ballots were dropped off by 6:30 p.m., which is more than the number of registered voters who turned out at that precinct to vote, officials said.
In Willows, precinct worker Linda Johnson reported the same.
"It helps that the Post Office announces when it is too late to mail ballots," Johnson said.
Like many voters, Johnson said she too turned her mail ballot in at the polls on election day to make sure her vote will be counted.
People heading to the polls said too much was at stake not to let the election pass them by.
County resident Dave Arbsland said he was rooting for the passage of Proposition 37 when he cast his ballot, which he said is probably one of the most important issues in the country.
If passed, California would be the first state to require labels on genetically modified foods.
"At least that is a good start," he said.
Crusaders for the measure are fighting some of the biggest food and bioengineering firms in the world, including Monsanto, DuPont and Kraft, who have poured millions of dollars into fighting the measure.
They claim the requirement will result in endless litigation and higher food prices.
Arbsland disagrees, and said it is much more important that people know when they are consuming GMO products, which he feels could harmful to humans.
"I think it's a Trojan horse," he said. "If dogs won't eat genetically modified foods, why should we?
Others said casting a vote for president was important, even though they felt their votes really won't count in the overall process.
Some felt choosing their representatives in the State Legislature and US House of Representatives was the most important reason to get out and vote.
Many said they cam\e out just to vote against Proposition 30, a statewide sales tax increase proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Kasey Killebrew said she was most passionate about the passage of Proposition 35, which would toughen penalties on sex trafficking.
"I guess it's because I'm female," she said.
Although Killebrew said the local City Council race was important, casting her vote to Gary Hansen, Vince Holvik and Larry Domenighini, she said she was not interested at all in the presidential election.
"I wrote in the name of my deceased dog," she said. "Ollie for president."