NORTH OGDEN -- Weber State University students doing an exit poll Tuesday at Green Acres Elementary School were unfazed by people who said, "No thanks." Statements like "Mind your own business," or "You people shouldn't be here," were not a concern.
But the guy who pulled a knife seriously bothered them.
On the plus side, the student the knife was pulled on was an off-duty Roy police officer.
Matt Gwynn is taking political science courses at WSU. He said he backed off, let the guy keep walking, then followed as he called North Ogden police on his cell phone.
North Ogden officers took the man into custody several blocks away.
The incident happened as the students were doing a statewide exit poll for Brigham Young University. They were asking people leaving the polls who they voted for, what issues they were concerned with and how they accessed the news.
Political science classes at universities around the state provided volunteer students. The pollsters at Green Acres were from Dr. Leah Murray's classes at WSU.
Murray said rejection is part of the deal, but knives are not.
"That has never happened before," she said. "I've been doing this eight years, and there has never been anything like this."
The pollsters got to the school when the polls opened at 8 a.m. By 9 a.m., about 100 people had taken their survey.
Some were happy to answer, like Tracy and Kevin MacCarthy, of North Ogden.
Tracy MacCarthy said she was in a good mood because she was "dang skippy" to be voting.
"I'm really fed up with what's going on in this country now," she said.
"I was infuriated with what's happened in the last vote, so as a voter, I'm going to exercise my right to get my country back, so this spend-and-tax, free-love utopia does not work."
Ryan and Mary Hadley also filled out the forms.
Mary Hadley noted that the form she had -- pollsters had four different forms they gave at random -- "was a request to send us polling questions throughout the year."
Ryan Hadley said his votes were "to take out some people that are in, to get a change because that's a good thing."
Wayne Summers, of North Ogden, smiled as he told the pollsters, "They should have asked me if we threw the bastards out!"
"Did you?" he was asked.
"There's nobody else running!" he said and laughed.
But there were rejections.
Several pleaded, "No time!" or "Not interested." Most were polite, but one woman angrily stomped by saying, "I don't talk to you people. You shouldn't even be here."
This prompted student Mike Hepworth to say: "Fascinating. 'I don't talk to you people.' Does that mean we're less human?"
People seem concerned about privacy, said student Maryam Ahmad. "They fear the government. They absolutely don't want the government knowing what they're doing."
Then Gwynn approached a man who had just voted and was walking toward the parking lot.
The man reached behind his back, took out a knife, showed it to Gwynn and told him to "back off."
Gwynn has been in law enforcement for 10 years at the Weber County Sheriff's Office and Roy Police Department. He said later he did as the man said to keep trouble away from the school. As the man walked off, Gwynn followed, cell phoning for help.
Other WSU students near the front of the school who saw the incident were shocked.
"A guy seriously pulled a knife," exclaimed Kathleen Maag, a senior. "Matt goes up and asks if he'll take the poll, and he reaches back and shows it to him and puts it back, so Matt went after him."
North Ogden police said they detained Garth Jensen, 64, near the intersection of 1750 North and 600 East, about two blocks from the school. The department said he displayed a Leatherman-type combination tool and knife.
"The suspect was detained, questioned and later cited for 'threat of violence,' a class B misdemeanor," stated a news release from the department.
"During questioning, Jensen admitted to displaying the tool/knife to the student because he (the student) was in his 'space.' "
Jensen will be arraigned in North Ogden Justice Court.
Gwynn said Jensen never opened the knife. Except as a witness, Gwynn said he did not take part in the arrest.
"I'm just a student here," he said, but added, "I'm just glad it happened to me."
The other students said they were glad it happened to Gwynn, too. They did keep asking people to take their exit poll, with a few jokes about being worried.
"Definitely, when I vote tonight, if there are any exit pollers, I am going to take the survey," Ahmad said.