Watertown voters are hopeful at polls; early turnout busy

Nov. 7—WATERTOWN — By noon Tuesday, over 200 people had passed through the door of Saint Anthony's Church on Arsenal Street to cast their vote for today's election.

Guy Forbes, 87, was working as a poll watcher at the church, something he has done every election day for the past 15 years. He said the substantial turnout is partially due to five Jefferson County polling places being closed, including two sites in Watertown — The Emma Flower Taylor Fire Station and Midtown Towers.

Forbes said that the only other big change for voting in recent years is newer technology.

"They don't have that lever that you would pull anymore," he said.

Forbes enjoys the job.

"I'm a people person. I like talking to people," he said.

He has no plans of quitting anytime soon.

"I'll stop when I'm 90. Maybe. We'll see," he said, smiling.

Shawn Smiley was heading into to the polling station with the recent water break incident in mind. On Oct. 18, a city water main broke at Huntington Street and Eastern Boulevard, causing a days-long boil water advisory and threatening to completely drain the city's two reservoirs at Thompson Park.

"I think memories are short and so the water issue with the main break was something that's on people's minds, and things like that," Smiley said.

"So going into this we are keeping that in the front of our head. I like all of the amenities that the city has, like the zoo and the golf course and things like that. But when the water breaks, then you're like, 'Wait, maybe we need to relook at things.' So that I think is bringing a lot of people out."

Elizabeth Klug, who was also stopping by the church, said that she feels that it is her duty to vote.

"I always vote even if it's an off year," she said.

She said she has been following along with the city affairs and hopes that this election will bring some peace.

Steve Barry is hoping for a change and for a fresh perspective.

"Watertown's an old city and there's a lot of old politics. I think it would be nice to have some young blood in there, to see things maybe a little differently," he said.