Wednesday November 7, 2012

The issues are hot-button and the debates between candidates have been heated. So Berkshire County voters clogged the polling places to vote on Tuesday.

They did in droves: Voter turnout for the presidential-year el ec tion between Barack Oba ma and Mitt Romney in the Berkshires was approximately 70 percent.

For some, it was an opportunity to vote for their favored candidates at both the state and national level. For many, it was the questions on the ballot that drew them out of the halls and into the street.

Whatever the reason, many said voting is an exercise of a civic duty.

"I believe you should vote because you're a citizen of the United States, the greatest country in the world, and you should vote every time there's an election with your civic duty," Ray Tekin said after leaving the polling place at Lanesborough Town Hall.

Most polling places saw last-minute campaigners hold ing signs and waving to the lines of cars on the street. They included folks campaigning for Sen. Scott Brown or Democratic opponent Elizabeth Warren and for state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli or his opponent Scott Laugenour. They all stood side-by-side.

"I care deeply about both [Barack] Obama and Eliz abeth Warren winning," Shel by Marshall said outside of the polling place at Stock bridge Town Offices.


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"They've got to win, and I'm doing what I can to help them."

Questions on the ballot were just as important, if not more so, than the candidates themselves to some voters. Many said they paid special attention to Question 2, "Prescribing Medication to End Life," and Question 3, "Medical Use of Marijuana."

For Dalton resident Jordan Franklin, Question 3 was a ballot question he wanted to get his input on since it affects his life.

"I actually have relatives that Question 3 relates to particularly, so that was important to me," Franklin said. He said he also came out to vote for Elizabeth Warren.

One man in Lenox told The Eagle he showed up to vote simply because legalizing marijuana was on the ballot, but he didn't give any information about himself.

They weren't old enough to vote, but many children accompanied their parents to the voting booths.

As a history teacher at Lenox Memorial High School, Joe Stieb felt that it wasn't just his civic duty, it was his professional duty.

"If I don't vote, I lose all credibility with my students," Stieb said.

Stieb was out of the country during the 2008 election, and too young to vote in the 2000 election.

"You can't really complain about anything going on in the United States if you don't vote, because it's your chance, even if it's a small impact," Stieb said.

To reach Adam Poulisse:
apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse