Sterling voters cast ballots in the dark

Sterling voters cast ballots in the dark
Two power poles were blown down during the thunderstorm early Tuesday morning. (Source KSWO)
Two power poles were blown down during the thunderstorm early Tuesday morning. (Source KSWO)
Power was restored to Sterling after being out for 10 hours. (Source KSWO)
Power was restored to Sterling after being out for 10 hours. (Source KSWO)

STERLING, OK (KSWO) -The entire town of Sterling was without power Tuesday for nearly 10 hours, but voters didn't let that stop them from casting their ballots.

The Public Service Company of Oklahoma says two power poles on Highway 17, between Elgin and Sterling, were toppled by high winds around 3:30 a.m. The poles hold heavy regulators that are meant to keep the voltage constant to electric customers.

Those who came to cast their ballots this morning were greeted by poll workers using sunlight and flashlights to aid them in taking advantage of their civic responsibility. Even in the darkness, voter turnout was high with a constant flow of voters walking through the door.

"Today, we are not going to let the power outage rain on our parade," said poll inspector Sharel McAdoo.

McAdoo says even though the electronic ballot machine didn't work, they were able to unlock an emergency bin on the machine to manually drop in ballots.

"We certainly want to make it a smooth thing that even though the weather or power outage is not something that you want to have happen or plan for it to happen, but to make sure that we do get the people who want to vote the opportunity to," McAdoo said.

The bin is something McAdoo learned about when she went through the training from the state to become an inspector. It's her job to answer questions voters might have and to help voters place their ballots in the machine.

Leona Hoover says she has been voting since she turned 18, but this is the first time she has ever voted when the power was out.

"I'm going to keep it (the voter sticker) that's for sure! It's a first. Who knows, I might not get to vote in the dark again, hopefully not," Hoover said.

McAdoo says even though the process of taking the ballots had to be modified a little, they still have to stick to procedure for everything else.

"The responsibility to check names. To make sure that they are in the right precinct. To make sure that they have the right ballot and so that goes on regardless of whether we're slightly in the dark," McAdoo said.

McAdoo says voting is one of the rights that the founders of the United States have given us and we should let nothing take that away.

"Lots of people have died, marched, rallied to ensure that this does continue and so if our part here is to make sure that the poll is open…that's a good thing to do," McAdoo said.

The power was restored shortly before 1 p.m., but the ballots that were cast during the morning power outage will still need to be run through the machine before the polls close.

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