August 27, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
71°F
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Clinton and Obama in dead heat here

With more than five hours left until polls close, Lorain County voters seem to be keeping Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a dead heat.

In unscientific exit polling, an even number of voters so far have told The Chronicle that they support each senator.

Mary Phillips, 47, of Lorain, was one of several who is aligning with Obama.

“People say we’re taking a chance on him, but I’m willing to take that chance,” she said while heading to vote at the Black River Landing in Lorain. “I just don’t want one more political person in there. Barack Obama is in politics, but he isn’t playing politics.”

Mike Bott, 48, of Elyria, said he cast his ballot in favor of Clinton at the Elyria Public Library.

“She has experience and backing from Bill Clinton,” he said. “I think she’s the one who’s more qualified.”

The Democratic presidential primary is so close that even some families are split. Rosie and Joe Kovach of Amherst said they’ve been married 48 years – and while Rosie cast her vote for Obama, Joe voted for Clinton.

Meanwhile, Republican voters seem few and far between.

Kurby Perrigan, 54, of Amherst, said he braved the freezing rain and miserably low temperatures to show support for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“I thought about whether I was wasting my vote because he has so little support in Ohio, but I figured that if everybody thought like that then he wouldn’t get any votes at all,” Perrigan said.

None of the voters interviewed early Tuesday had any problems with either optical scan or touch-screen voting systems.

The National Weather Service is predicting that sleet and snow will intensify as the day wears on and there are a flood watch and a winter weather advisory through midnight.

According to the Associated Press, three precincts in Steubenville were moved early in the day because of flooding concerns. Voters were redirected to polling places on higher ground.

The weather hasn’t seemed to slow down voters in Lorain County, though, said Anthony Morano, 19, of Lorain. During the morning rush hour, about 200 cars swarmed over the Knights of Columbus in Lorain and created long lines, he said.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner predicted as many as 4 million voters would go to the polls today – though Oberlin College professor of politics Michael Parkin said Monday that bad weather typically keeps many voters indoors.

As many as one in five voters tried to beat today’s winter weather by casting early ballots, Brunner said.