Record voter turnout expected Tuesday for general election

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:17

    WARWICK-Everywhere you turn, the topic is politics. Newspapers, television commentators, everyday working people are discussing the presidential election that is taking place on Tuesday. Record numbers of new voters have been registered across the country. Even non-political musicians have toured the country to rock the vote. Tuesday's election is expected to be a close one, with a country divided almost down the middle going to the polls to select the leader of the free world. Here in Warwick, election signs dot the countryside, some for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, some for Senators John Kerry and John Edwards. Many more depict a more local race n a fierce one for state assembly between Warwick resident Annie Rabbitt and Wallkill's Bonnie Kraham. Howard Mills, who currently holds the position, is facing an uphill battle for United States Senator against incumbent Chuck Schumer. New York State Senator Thomas Morahan has no opposition from any major party candidate. He is being challenged by Libertarian candidate Jeff Bennett. Most talk locally is about the presidential election. Like other places throughout the country, Warwick, too, is divided, with a small group supporting Independence Party candidate Ralph Nader. Many people, although willing to discuss politics off the record, do not wish to air their views in the local newspaper. A few of them were sitting this week at the Country Dream Restaurant in Edenville. John Hull, a Warwick resident for 25 years said he is basing his vote this year pretty much on the fact that we are at war. "The country's going down," said Hull. "The war is not over and they're killing so many soldiers." On a nearby stool was a man ordering his breakfast. He did not wish to be identified but said he thinks "they're both bums." He has never voted before and is not even registered. The others at the restaurant did not want to share their political views. Carol Ann, a married, working mother of two who has lived in Warwick for nine years, said she certainly is not on the fence when it comes to who she will pull the lever for on Tuesday. But she doesn't understand those who do not vote. "I want to feel our leaders are on top of things, on top of all the issues," said Carol Ann. "This is an important election. There are so many issues. It is a privilege to vote. It is our civic duty—I would never give that up. No matter who we vote for, we make a statement, we exercise democracy at its best. If you don't vote, you have no right to complain." She feels it is important to know something about the issues and make an informed decision. Whatever the case, people should cast a vote. "September 11th changed everything," she said. "People want their voices to be heard. Educate yourself on the issues and vote for somebody. We should know what type of leader is running the country. It affects you and your family." Carol Ann thinks the big issues in this election are safety of our country, the economy, health care, and education. Closer to home in the 97th assembly district, a familiar Warwick face, town councilwoman Rabbitt is facing Kraham for the seat vacated by Mills. The race has been a contentious one, with Kraham taking Rabbitt to court, challenging her petitions and charging that Rabbitt's name was forged on many of them. Rabbitt denied those charges and the courts agreed to keep her on the ballot. In addition, six state supreme court justice seats are up for grabs, as well as the seat for the 19th district in the United States House of Representatives. Incumbent Republican Sue Kelly is facing a challenge from Democrat Michael Jaliman. The polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 1, brought to any polling place on Tuesday. Town Clerk Karen Lavinski said the town, unlike many other areas across the country, has the required number of voting inspectors to ensure things go smoothly on the big day. If voters have any questions on where to go to vote, Lavinski and her staff are prepared. "We have been getting lots of phone calls, people asking if they are registered and where they go to vote," said Lavinski. "We are expecting a large turnout Tuesday, definitely."