The cold is bitter and sharp on this January day, but the frigid temperatures didn't stop people from getting an early start to speak their piece via the ballot box for the Parsippany Board of Education's fields referendum.
Nine polling places opened their doors at 2 p.m. sharp for the special election, in which residents will decide whether to move forward with the school board's $7.7 million athletic improvements package for Parsippany and Parsippany Hills high schools.
At Intervale Elementary School, the cold is stopping most people from spending time in the frosty air to talk with Patch, but Laurie and John Starace, who live nearby, were generous enough to share their thoughts.
"I'm concerned about taxes being too high," said Laurie Starace, explaining her reason for coming to Intervale School Tuesday afternoon.
Her husband John agreed, adding, "We're here to do our part."
Apparently, a lot of people—many of them senior citizens—had the same urge to do their civic duty. Starting promptly at 2 p.m., a steady stream of people, huddling in their coats, rushed into the building to cast their votes and then raced back to the warmth of their vehicles.
The appearance of a lot of seniors caught the attention of Leonard Cipkins, a soccer referee for Par High.
"This may not bode well," he said, as a woman passed by pushing a wheelchair containing an elderly woman.
Of course, that cannot be assumed with assurance. One man who didn't want to be named told Patch that his elderly mother was casting a vote in favor of the school board project "for her grandkids."
Cipkins said Parsippany's young athletes need the athletic improvements, which include artificial turf fields.
"As a soccer referee, I know how dangerous the present conditions are," he said, noting that his children will enter high school in the next few years. "The grass use is limited. With turf, the fields can be used for many more sports, and weather is less of an issue."
Whether that argument resonates with most voters—and the ultimate level of turnout—won't be known until the polls close at 9 p.m. and vote totals are reported at the BOE building on Parsippany Road.