Voters flocked to cast ballots Tuesday, and in most places voter turnout was heavier than expected for a midterm election.
York County voter turnout averaged 35 percent in most areas, according to Wanda Hemphill, director of York County Registrations and Elections.
All precincts in York and Chester counties ran smoothly, with only a few scattered problems.
At the Cotton Belt Elementary poll location in York, voting was delayed at 7 a.m. for about two or three minutes when none of the machines were working. The county “rover” in charge of fixing broken voting machines solved the problem quickly, said Bonnie Davis, poll supervisor.
The heavy voter turnout meant long lines across Lancaster County, said Rick Crimminger, chairman of elections committee.
"Everything's open and operational," Crimminger said. "We have people lined up at almost all of the polls. It's heavy turnout for a midterm election."
He said there were a few problems with the audio voting machines, but those were resolved quickly.
Healthcare and education were on the minds of residents in York as the first votes were cast Tuesday.
Erica Cabbagestalk, 41, said she voted for U.S. Rep. John Spratt for Congress because of his commitment to bi-partisan politics. She is a supporter of Spratt’s plan for healthcare reform, she said.
“I think we need to give the new healthcare bill a chance and see what it can do for the American people,” Cabbagestalk said.
She also voted for political newcomer Alvin Greene in the U.S. Senate race because of Greene’s plans to support public education and make classroom quality a priority, she said. Despite the fact that Greene lacks political experience, Cabbagestalk said it’s times like now that “a new perspective is needed.”
Another voter agreed, saying that arrogant politicians should be voted out.
Jack Carroll, 72, was near the front of the line before polls opened and was first to cast his vote at the Trinity Center location in York.
“My concerns this year are social security, Medicare and I don’t like the arrogance that we see in Washington right now and for the last 18 months,” he said. “And I voted accordingly.”
Carroll, a Republican, voted along party lines this year because Republicans understand that “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Retired teacher Mary Elyn Carroll, a self-described “Yellow Dog Democrat,” said her motivation in voting was to support the incumbent Spratt against his challenger Mick Mulvaney.
“I think (Spratt) has served not only this district but this state and this country,” Mary Elyn Carroll said. “He has the courage to cast votes that are right for the people.”
Carroll, 70, said she has seen the sentiment change over time as Spratt has served in office; those who once supported the Democrat may not be doing so anymore. “If he loses, it’s not his loss,” she said. “It’s ours.”
In Rock Hill, John Johnson said he came to vote because "it's the right thing to do." He said governor and U.S. House of Representatives races interested him.
"I voted for Nikki Haley," he said. "I think she's the right woman for the job."
Eric Johnson said he also voted for Haley and Mulvaney for Congress.
"John Spratt had enough time," he said. "We need a change. ... It's a free country, let's keep it that way."