Advance voters spend hours in line

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Metro Atlanta voters braved several hours of waiting in lines on the last day of advance voting Friday.

Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik went to a polling station at the Ocee Library in Johns Creek, where the wait was nearly four hours long. The line snaked around the building and traffic nearby was gridlocked, but voters were unswayed. Fulton County officials said more than 130,000 people have cast early ballots in the county.

"This is the most important vote, perhaps of my life," Demetrius Nolton told Petchenik.

He braved the lines even after a morning car crash.

"I'm in some discomfort, but I'm OK," he said.

Turnout was so large Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann said the county ceased library services Friday to make room for more voters.

"There would have been no way to have the line inside the building and do library services," Hausmann said.

In Gwinnett County, wait times ranged from 40 minutes to more than two hours. County officials told Channel 2’s Carl Willis they’ve already beat 2008’s early voter turnout by 30,000 voters. They said Friday’s crowds will help ease the rush on Tuesday.

“We'll have voted so many people in early voting in person, it looks like the 156 precincts that are  going to be open on Tuesday should have very reasonable lengths,” county spokesman Joe Sorenson said.

He said the process has greatly improved since the last presidential election, when wait times reached 11 hours.

In Cobb County, lines ranged from one hour to more than two hours.

“Yesterday, we had a little over 16,000 at all of our locations total, and we expect to see 17,000, maybe more, today,” Cobb County Elections Director Janine Eveler said.

Voters standing in line at the main office on Whitlock Avenue spent time fiddling with their phones or talking to each other.  Several told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi they didn’t mind the wait.

“It was great.  There’s a lot of nice people to talk to in line. The weather was great,” said voter Susy Shelton.

Like a lot of voters, Missy Osbon said she came early, fearing the lines on Election Day would be even longer. 

“We were afraid of the lines next Tuesday, and we had the time today,” Osbon told Choi.

But elections officials said they don’t expect a wait on Tuesday. 

“We’re serving so many people in early voting, that we cut down on the number of people to serve on Election Day, and we have 150 polls and they’ll be open for 12 hours,” said Eveler.



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