Aug 21, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterFremont County Clerk Julie Freese reported quiet voter activity for the primary election as of Tuesday morning at polls in Lander and Riverton.
"Turnout is kind of low, it sounds like," Freese said at about 11 a.m. "At 9:30 we had 411 here in Lander, and in Riverton at 10:15 we had 544 voters. It's kind of slow."
Polls opened at 7 a.m. and voters have until 7 p.m. to cast their ballots in the election that has some hotly contested races at the local and state levels.
Two of the three Fremont County Commission districts up for election this year are contested for the Republican Party nomination.
In District 2, spanning much of north Fremont County, incumbent Commissioner Dennis Christensen is seeking to retain his seat over challengers Larry Allen, Richard Denke and Tim Salazar.
In District 5 that includes a portion of Lander, east Riverton and much of southern Fremont County, commissioner Doug Thompson is seeking re-election against challengers Jennifer McCarty and Red Fyler.
In rural Fremont County, incumbent state Rep. Rita Campbell is seeking the party's nomination for House District 34 against challenger Lois Herbst.
Voters in much of Lander will determine longtime representative Del McOmie's replacement for House District 54. Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination are Eileen Oakley, Andrew Gramlich and Lloyd Larsen, while Democratic Party candidates are Michelle Hoffman and Bruce Palmer.
State House District 33, representing the Wind River Indian Reservation, has two Republicans seeking the party's nomination, Daniel Cardenas and Jim Allen. The winner will face incumbent Democratic State Rep. Patrick Goggles in the Nov. 6 general election.
At the Fremont County Fairgrounds polling place, voters trickled in through the Fremont Center's doors at around 10:30 a.m.
Pat Lawson, election judge for precinct 18-2 that covers a large area in south Riverton and west of the city, said the turnout has been "enough to keep you awake."
But in precinct 3-3 around Ashgrove School and the Logan Park Addition, election judge Norman Moss said 124 voters had cast their ballots by 10:30 a.m.
"That's excellent," Moss said about the turnout.
On South Federal Boulevard north of the fairgrounds, McCarty and some supporters waved American flags and held campaign signs.
"I've been over to Lander, too," McCarty said between waves to passing motorists. "I'm jumping back and forth. ... We've got crews over there and crews over here."
When asked if she thought turnout would be high, McCarty replied, "I think so. I'm seeing a lot of people both at Lander and at Riverton."
Freese said there had been a couple of small mechanical problems she called "minor, minor stuff" in the morning.
"We had one machine we did have to replace over in Kinnear. We have a procedure, and we tested it on-site and it worked out," she said. "The other was in Atlantic City, and we got it worked out over the phone."
Freese expected results to start arriving by phone from the outlying areas to her election staff at the county courthouse in Lander shortly after the polls close at 7 p.m.
Couriers with information cards from the voting machines at the larger polling centers in Riverton and Lander will deliver them to the courthouse later in the evening. Officials will also count absentee ballots and have them ready in the evening.
Freese said all results from the election should be ready within a couple hours or so after the polls close.
"If we go past 9 or 9:30, I would be surprised," she said.
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