Voters happily endure long lines on first day of early voting

Travis Lintner waited to vote at the Forsyth County Government Center today.

Early-voting sites in Forsyth and Guilford counties have seen waits of up to two hours today as voters enthusiastically took advantage of the opportunity to vote for president and other offices on the first day the polls were opened.

“I just feel like this election is going to be pivotal in our nation’s future for countless years ahead,” said 28-year-old Travis Lintner, who stood in line to vote on the first floor of the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

An election worker estimated the wait time at an hour and 45 minutes, and then gave Lintner and four other voters the go-ahead to get on the escalator. The line circled the mezzanine on the second floor from the voting site to the top of the escalator, wound down the hallway to the parking lot and back and, at one point, trailed out the front door.

Josh Chunn, the absentee ballot coordinator for Forsyth County, said 1,184 people had voted at the county’s one early-voting site, but he was uncertain of when the count had been taken. In comparison, 1,701 people voted on the first day of early voting in the 2008 election. 

In neighboring Guilford County, Early Voting Director Tim Tsujii said 8,678 people voted, and wait times ranged from 15 minutes to an hour, with two-hour waits at peak times. Tsujii indicated it was difficult to make a comparison between this year and 2008 because the county opened 16 early-voting sites today, but only two on the first day of early voting in 2008. 

Anthony Daniels, a Persian Gulf War veteran who said he has voted in every election since he was 18, was happy to wait about an hour to vote at the Forsyth County Government Center. 

“If you come out to vote Nov. 6 it’s going to be crazy,” he said. “I don’t want to see anything like Ohio in 2004 when people had to wait six hours to vote. People are going to get discouraged if they have to wait too long.” 

Adolphus Copelin Sr., Kimberly Penn and Beth Sellers (l-r) were among those who took advantage of early voting in Forsyth County today.

No comments: