Your voting anecdotes here


t took me an hour and forty minutes to vote at the Quail Hollow precinct — most of it standing in the breezy fine mist of rain, which gets cool after awhile even in a camel-hair sport coat. This was the first day in more than a week that I did NOT wear a sweater, which was stupid. I had looked at the weather report on my Treo — mid-60s, it said — and it simply never occurred to me that I would spend 90 minutes of the day standing outside.

But it was OK. Here are some pictures. The one at top was looking toward the front of the line, just after I joined it. Voting3The blurry one at right is a little later, showing all the way to the front of the line. (That’s my wife in the white sweater and dark hair about halfway up, although I didn’t know that until I called her on the phone and she told me she was there; I had thought she was in Shandon watching the twins. If it had been any other sort of line, I would have gone up and cut in to join her. Somehow that seemed a violation of electoral etiquette, though.) The one below is from
about 15 minutes later, at which point the line stretched back about twice as far as the point where I had joined it at 10:08. Note that the mist was falling when those behind us got out of their cars, so they had umbrellas. Many of them did anyway; the lady colonel in the foreground did not, but she was dressed for inclement weather.

All during this there was a steady flow of old folks being escorted to the front of the line, and after a while, I must confess, I was tempted to say, "Oh yeah, right! Like you really need a walker — I’m onto you!" But I didn’t think it would be nice, so I didn’t say it.

When we finally got inside the little building behind the church, the line waiting to check in consisted of about 10 people. Then there was a long, undulating space for a line after registering with only four or five people standing in. Apparently it didn’t occur to the poll workers that they weren’t managing the flow as well as they might. The lady checking in the first half of the alphabet was moving people along pretty well — story of my life; if there’s a way to screw over the W’s, it will be found and acted upon. My half of the alphabet had to wait while our worker was distracted by the old folks bypassing the line. (The whole curbside voting thing seemed very haphazard. They had a van for awhile, but that left. Some cut to the front of the line; some went to a side door, and I got the impression that each person who did so was a bit of a surprise, and was dealt with in an ad hoc manner. But perhaps I didn’t fully perceive what was happening.)

At the front of the line, there were seven machines (not counting the young lady holding the curbside machine — why she was in there, waiting for people to check in and then accompanying them out to the voter in the car, I don’t know). But only five were in use. One of them was specially equipped, I overheard, for the hearing impaired (what role hearing played in the process I don’t know). Maybe it was rigged for sound for the blind, and I misunderstood — it appeared to have headphones attached, which for all I knew was so that the "Rock the Vote" kids could hear loud music while voting.

Why the seventh machine wasn’t in use, I don’t know.

So how did it go for you?


27 thoughts on “Your voting anecdotes here

  1. Wally Altman

    The line I waited in seemed much shorter than yours but it still took nearly two hours to get to the front. Once we got inside the line split into four by last name, and since the latter half of the alphabet was severely underrepresented at the time I was there, people from the beginning of the alphabet had to wait longer even though the bottleneck was at the voting machines, not the registration table. Folks with last names from L to Z could pretty much go right in, get past the registration table in ten minutes or so and get in the queue for a machine.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Perhaps I should note that what the turnout at my polling place would SEEM to indicate is that Republicans are pretty excited about voting today. A couple of weeks ago that would have surprised me; I had thought all the energy was on the Democratic side. But then my parents went to Lexington to vote absentee, and had to wait a long time. I’ve heard the waits were longer in Richland, which would stand to reason. But even though Obama voters seem much more pumped up than McCain voters, the McCain voters are more pumped than Republicans normally are. So chalk one up for Democracy all around today.
    I drove past three Richland County polling places during the noon hour. I forgot to look for lines at Hand Middle School, but I didn’t notice any for what that’s worth. I was sort of surprised not to see anyone waiting outside at Rosewood Elementary. Nor was anyone outside at A.C. Moore. Perhaps these Democratic precincts were just more efficiently run, and arranged for people to do their standing inside — besides, schools have more space to work with than had been devoted to the purpose at Quail Hollow.
    But perhaps y’all have seen the lines in Richland that will dwarf what I saw. I await your reports.

  3. bud

    The problem line in my precinct was L-R. There were four such lines and L-R had 5 times as many people as the other 3 combined. I noticed one lady in L-R who was at least 20 people ahead of me in the long outside line. (She was conspicuous with her Tennessee Volunteers jacket). After the lettered lines she ended up at least 60 people behind me. So she lost 80+ places by virtue of her last name.

  4. Sand Hill

    My precinct (Pilgrim Church in Lexington) went 80% for Bush in 2004. I waited 3 hours to vote between 9 and noon. When I left, the line was even longer than when I arrived.

  5. Karen McLeod

    I drove by Olympia school before 8:00 AM this morning. The line was out the door and at least 75 yds long outside. I went back at 11:00. There was no one outside. I went inside thinking I could vote quickly. The line snaked back and forth the length of the gym, like rope coiled upon itself. I think they just wanted out of the rain. I’m not sure it was any shorter. I’m going back armed with a chair and a raincoat this pm, and I plan to stay until I vote.

  6. Rich

    It took me two and a half hours to vote at Ridge View. They had only 12 functional polling booths operating. The poll workers did an excellent job getting people through as fast as possible, but the turnout clearly dwarfed anything we have experienced in the past.
    I arrived at RVHS at 11:15 and did not leave school until 1:45, but at least I got to vote.
    I really liked the electronic voting machine, but since it issued no receipt, how do I know my vote will actually be counted??
    With all of our technology, there has got to be a better way to do this.
    Why don’t we all have individual online accounts with the government much as we do with banks? Along with voting early, at a polling station, and by mail, why can’t we use secure software to have an account with the government much as we do with our bank and then vote securely?
    Oh, I think I know why. More people would vote. The Republicans don’t really want that to happen. It might be the death of the GOP and the rural yahoo control of the federal government in which S.C. is so ignominiously complicit!

  7. p.m.

    My wife and I just returned from voting. The process required less than five minutes.
    In my precinct, more than 50 percent of registered voters had cast ballots by 2:30.
    It was the first time in my life I have even been able to vote for myself without writing in my name, which I have never done.
    I put a check mark by my name this time.
    It felt good.

  8. Ralph Hightower

    My wife and I waited 45 minutes to vote at Chapin Elementary, but that was because we got there at 6:15 AM. There were fewer people in the A-K line than the L-Z line which had the benefit of the covered walkway. We were #10 and #11 to sign in. But lines got longer past 6:45 AM.
    It will be interesting when we head home tonight to see what the line is like at our old precint voting at the Crossroads Fire Station, a two truck outpost.

  9. Some Voter

    Gotta hand it to these Methodists out here in Lexington…3 hour wait to vote at Mt. Horeb — but they had a coffee/tea lady coming around with a serving cart…and there were free corndogs. My compliments to the chef! And I met some of the nicest Yankees while standing in line. There is hope for Lexington yet!!! Oh, and there were exactly 5 minorities out of about 350. Unless they count Yankees as minorities around here. Which they probably do. So, 7 minorities out of 350. Senator Obama may have a tough sell out here in whitey-ville.

  10. Susanna K.

    Just voted over here in Aiken County. My husband said our polling place was packed this morning, so I waited ’til the afternoon. The line was short and I was in and out in under 10 minutes.

  11. Jimmy

    3.5 hours at Asbury Methodist. I agree with your assessment Brad that the Republicans are excited about this election as well. I was very surprised by the turnout. It has never taken me more than an hour.

  12. Tim

    It took me two hours at St. David’s Lutheran Church this morning. When I left at 10:45 the line was longer than when I got there, which is amazing considering it’s smack dab in the middle of a work day.

  13. Brad Warthen

    Somebody had put several 2-liter bottles of soda on a table at the front of the line at Saluda River Baptist, along with cups — but I didn’t see any ice (not that I looked hard). And nobody seemed to pay any attention to the refreshments, because by the time we could see them, everybody was eager to get done and go.
    Here’s a report from the Shandon area — my daughter said there was a big crowd at her polling place, including Jim and Rachel Hodges and John Courson…

  14. JB

    Rice Creek Elementary (NE Richland Co.) It took me 3 hours & 45 mins.
    Some things of note: Sherri Abbott was arguing with the poll manager because poll workers were telling voters they couldn’t vote write-in.
    The line went through the school. On the walls were children’s essays on what the differences between Obama & McCain. Three children wrote the same phrase, “McCain doesn’t want people to have health insurance.” Guess they heard that from their teacher. Made me remember why I send my children to Catholic school.

  15. Greg in Hampton

    Voted at 8:45…no line.
    Of course my entire precinct is only 1400 urban Hamptonians, and 400 of them had “pre-voted”. We had SEVEN machines. Of course, we’ve been relegated to the firehouse while they built our new courthouse (that no law -abiding/non-suing citizen will ever step foot in again). You see they’ve moved all “tax-paying citizen” services to a much older cramped catch-all county building. We’ll be voting there next time. I don’t know where they’ll put seven machines in there.

  16. Sand Hill

    My wife is waiting in line at Pilgrim Church now. She’s looking at a three hour wait, if the line moves like it did for me earlier. I think every blasted person in the precinct is voting. My guess is that is good news for McCain and Joe Wilson.
    They need to buy more voting machines.

  17. Tim

    I see a common theme of having 7 voting machines at precincts. My precinct also had 7. Wonder if it’s just a coincidence of if there’s a reason. I would think that machines are allocated based on how many voters are in the precinct.

  18. Karen McLeod

    I finally voted. It took me an hour to vote. 6 machines; a long line to sign in if your name began with A-M; they periodically called out for anyone with a name beginning with N-Z, and those persons sailed on to the front of the line (I think there were at least 6 while I was there). I am delighted to see such a large turnout! Wish it happened more often.

  19. Lee Muller

    A random check of obituaries in the Charlotte Observer for 2007 found that 85 percent of them voted in the 2008 Democratic Primary.
    It is a safe bet they “voted” for Obama. They have so many more ways to cheat now.

  20. Ozzie

    Voted in Lexington 1 (Saxe Gotha Pres. church) We were really surprised how few voting machines there were. Also interesting that the majority of voters’ last names seem to fall in the A-D section, and it took an awful long time for them to look up people’s names and verify. Meanwhile, the rest of the alphabet was streaming in behind us and moving ahead in line, so that was frustrating. The poll workers did do their best to get the line in out of the rain, which was nice, but it moved very slowly.
    I would think that there would be ways to streamline all this, but the main thing would be to have at least double the number of voting machines (I think we only had 8 as well).
    A two and half hour adventure, altogether.
    Is it just me, or does it not look like a lot higher voter turnout this time? I don’t remember standing in line at all in ’04.

  21. carriecarrie

    Burnside Elementary School, 6:30 am. Finally voted at 9am. The line moved along smoothly, and rather quickly but there were a LOT of people, so it took a long time.

  22. Lee Muller

    I called some voters for McCain, at the request of a staunch Republican friend of mine.
    Most people were not home, but I did have a very gratifying call. A man answered the phone with a broken accent and said, “Yes, I wait for my wife. When she come home, we vote for McCain.”
    I thanked him and asked him how long he had lived in Pennsylvania.
    “Fourteen years”, he said. “Vee just get citizenship. This our first vote since vee come from Hungary. People here do not understand Obama, do not understand socialism, do not understand how bad it is.”
    He is right. But some of them are going to learn the hard way.

  23. bill

    It was a long ordeal.Leaving the voting “booth”(more like a stand-up desk w/a blue-haired lady lookin’ over my shoulder),I was arrested for VUI,and taken to jail by the police.
    To get my voter’s registration back,I have to attend two years of Electoral College.
    God Bless America!

  24. Capital A

    “Fourteen years”, he said. “Vee just get citizenship. This our first vote since vee come from Hungary. People here do not understand Obama, do not understand socialism, do not understand how bad it is.”
    He is right. But some of them are going to learn the hard way.
    Posted by: Lee Muller | Nov 4, 2008 10:30:18 PM
    Mark Twain, is that you? Your command of dialect and local (semi-foreign, in this case) color is astounding! Veeeee-ry inter-estink, to say the least!
    I put a check mark by my name this time.
    It felt good.
    Posted by: p.m. | Nov 4, 2008 3:07:34 PM
    Sarah Palin, is that you? Who knew we were surrounded on this blog by so many shining fixtures in the firmament?

Comments are closed.