Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miskatonic University
Re: Your Official 2004 Election Day Thread
Just to pass the time, here's some reports of what some are calling a record-breaking voter turnout:
Big early voter turnout creates long lines
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By Roger Petterson
Nov. 2, 2004 | The rush to beat the Election Day crowds at the ballot box turned into a long wait in many places as large numbers of early voters created long lines that ran outside the doors and down streets.
Some determined voters had to wait in rain that fell from Texas to the lower Great Lakes. Texas Panhandle residents navigated snow-covered roads. And some voters in Kansas had to wait for a furnace to heat up.
Both parties had worked hard to boost turnout.
"Some polling places voted 25 percent of their entire registered voters in the first hour," said Tom Leach, spokesman for the Chicago Election Board. "That's just unheard of."
Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, said as many as 117.5 million to 121 million voters could cast ballots by the end of the day _ 58 percent to 60 percent of those eligible. In the last presidential election, turnout was 51.2 percent of the voting age population, or 105.4 million voters, an increase of 2.2 percentage points from 1996.
"Compared to 2000, it's completely different," said polling inspector Berlin Sims in Bay Minette, Ala., where the line of people waiting to vote stretched around the civic center. That year, he said, "It was not even this heavy all day."
Many voters had already taken advantage of early voting in several states. Besides the presidency, voters were filling 34 Senate seats, 11 governorships and all 435 House seats.
On the southern Plains, up to 7 inches of snow fell overnight in the Texas Panhandle, and Randall County Clerk Sue Bartolino warned voters to be careful on the roads.
In southwestern Kansas, the polling place for several precincts in Garden City had to be moved because the furnace did not work in the Finney County 4-H building. The temperature was in the low 30s.
Snow was likely to cut turnout in nearby Grant County, but "the ones who vote all the time will get out," said county Clerk Linda McHenry.
Strangers shared umbrellas in the rain as voters endured waits of two hours or more at polling places throughout Ohio.
"It's our job," Amanda Karel, 25, an Ohio State University graduate student, said as she waited to vote at a banquet hall in Columbus. "It's what we're supposed to do." She added: "It's the only way to make the ads stop."
In Fargo, N.D., Shirley Blake said about 50 people were waiting when she opened a polling place, more than she had ever seen that early in more than a decade of working on elections.
"I've never had to wait in line before," Fred Flugger, 72, said at his polling place on Pittsburgh's South Side, where dozens of people were already waiting when he arrived shortly after polls opened. "Usually, if I had to wait, it would be three to four minutes."
"We wanted to come out early to vote but we never expected such a heavy turnout," Linda Russell said as she stood in line before polls opened in Raleigh, N.C.
Elsewhere in North Carolina, lines of voters snaked down sidewalks and across a street at a Durham precinct, where one man brought a chair to ease the wait.
"It's easier to give up. I'm not a very vocal player. I lead by example. I take the attitude that I've got to go out and do it. Because of who I am, I've got to give everything I've got to come back."
-Ken Griffey Jr.