Campaigners set up camp despite low voter turnout

Campaigners set up camp despite low voter turnout

Voter turnout has been sparse at some of Brentwood’s precincts today, but supporters of almost all candidates are out campaigning and encouraging the public to vote.

At the Brentwood Library, supporters of both House District 61 incumbent Rep. Charles Sargent and his opponent, business man Steve Gawrys, were holding signs for their candidates.

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Ally Driver and Madison Crooks support Charles Sargent outside of the Brentwood Library on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

“I’ve always wanted to get involved in politics and have known that’s what I wanted to do,” resident Ally Driver, who was there supporting Sargent, said. “I thought it was important to get involved at the local level with people who actually represent where I live.”

At the Gawrys tent, resident Julie West said that she was campaigning for the challenger because she was ready to see a change.

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Julie West and Marilyn Hutchinson support Steve Gawrys outside of the Brentwood Library on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

“Sargent has been in office for 20 years and I just think it’s time for a change,” she said. “Gawrys has been a businessman in this community for decades, he has longtime roots and I think he would be good for the district.”

Both Driver and West said that whoever you vote for, it’s important to get out and vote.

“We as Americans, especially women, used to not have the opportunity to vote,” Driver said. “There are so many places that don’t have that opportunity at all.”

West said that if voters want to get involved, they have to vote.

“A lot of people aren’t voting because they’re sick of the same thing every year,” she said. “Voting can help change that.”

The Brentwood Library saw about 160 voters at noon on Thursday, a lower turnout than normal, according to Election Officer Bob Williams.

“We’ve had about 17 per hour,” Williams said. “It’s not been very busy, but there are also no school board candidates at this location.”

At New Hope Community Church, where school board candidates Bobby Hullett, Jennifer Luteran and Christopher Richards were on the ballot, the numbers still weren’t as high as the Brentwood Library’s. At about 1 p.m., New Hope had seen just 110 voters.

Even so, school board candidate supporters as well as House District 61 supporters were camped out in front of New Hope on Thursday to encourage voters going by.

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Shelley Shiflett holds a sign in support of Bobby Hullett outside of New Hope Community Church on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

“It makes me sad to see so many cars drive by and know that there are voters in there who aren’t stopping,” Shelley Shiflett, a Hullet supporter, said. “If people were more willing to participate I think a lot of good could come out of the school board. I’ve been a long-time supporter of Bobby, and he’s really done a great job of making the board better.”

At the Luteran tent, resident Minya West and her three children were there in support.

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Minya West’s children supporting Jennifer Luteran outside of New Hope Community Church on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

“Jennifer is very passionate about the kids in this community and the schools,” she said. “She would be a tremendous asset to the school board.”

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Bryanna and Susan Richards support Christopher Richards on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

Richards’ wife, Susan, and their daughter Bryanna were there in support of their candidate as well, and shared a story about Bryanna and Luteran’s daughter becoming friends at school.

“I think no matter what happens in the school board election today, I hope we can all take a lesson from these girls,” Susan said.

In the House District 61 tents at New Hope, Sargent did not face opposition from a Gawrys tent, but from Dist. 61 runner Terrence Smith’s wife, Michelle.

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Michelle Smith supporter her husband Terrence on Aug. 4, 2016. // HPMG // SAMANTHA HEARN

“Terrence is a strong conservative, and he’s not obligated to any PACs,” Michelle said. “He really cares about the constituents and the good of District 61.”

At the Sargent tent, resident Patrick Boggs said that despite the light voter turn-out, they’ve received a lot of thumbs-ups from exiting voters.

“I think the voter voice will be heard,” he said. “The number one thing Sargent cares about is his constituents, above anybody else.”

Over at the Safety Center East voting booth, numbers were even lighter coming in at about 37 people around 12:30 p.m.

Voting ends today at 7 p.m.

Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at or on Twitter @samanthahearn. 

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