Georgia Turnout Update

My wife had the day off today, and tried to go vote (Georgia has early voting this week). When she arrived at the polling place, she was told the wait would be 4-5 hours.

To repeat what I said earlier in the week: Georgia is no battleground in 2004 (insert William T. Sherman jokes here). There is no question as to who is going to win the statewide races here; Bush and Johnny Isacson are both double-digit locks.

And the wait is still half a day to vote.

Take whatever predictions you read or hear over the next four days with 380 tons of salt. Nobody has ever seen an American election like this before.

Nobody.

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57 Responses to “Georgia Turnout Update”

  1. Peter Says:

    Will,

    If memory serves, you’re in the Atlanta metro area…I’m in Glynn county (St. Simons Island, Sea Island, etc) and I tried to early vote yesterday. The wait was so long that I ended up leaving and returning this morning. It took well almost 3 hours to vote. They told me that it had been like that all week.

    How much is because of the marriage amendment? How much because Georgians want the popular vote for Bush to be overwhelming?

    You’re right, we’ve never seen an election like this. Tuesday will be a madhouse. Especially since anyone in line when the polls close (in GA at least) are eligible to vote, which means there will still be voting being done long after most polls have officially closed.

  2. Bobby Says:

    Was this in Gwinnett County? My understanding is that they have 17 machines at one location for what is essentially the second largest county in the Metro Atlanta area.

    I will be voting Tuesday with the rest of the world but I would think with many more locations and machines, waits may not be as long as some fear. I guess we’ll see.

    War Eagle Will! Let’s punch that SEC West ticket this weekend!

  3. MustangDale Says:

    I wish it was like that here in Michigan. Bush is still in it here, but for the most part theres just to many liberals in this state for him to win it.. At least easily.

  4. Ken Says:

    Same here in Tampa. I’ve tried to vote all week, but don’t have the 4+ hours it will take to stand in line. Weird thing is, I don’t ever recall waiting longer than 30 minutes in past elections, and that was when everyone was voting on the same day!

  5. Michael Parker Says:

    The wife and I are in Houston, and went to vote last thursday. Wait was over an hour, and the people were standing in line in 95deg heat/95% humidity without complaint.

    Only saw one Kerry sticker in the parking lot (this is delay’s district after all), but as I was leaving a black guy showed up on a Harley Davidson with Bush/Cheney sticker on the saddlebags.

    Actually, I’ve seen several african-americans with bush/cheney stickers on their vehicles this election cycle. I was talking to several of them a few weeks ago in the pipe shop, and they indicated that widespread loathing of Sharpton and the Dem embrace of same is upsetting a lot of blacks. And the gay marriage thing also seemed a major sticking point.

    It’s gonna be an interesting election for sure.

  6. Duke DeLand Says:

    Tampa has a situation where the “early voter” polls are numbered 7……on voting day we have several hundred precincts. Thus the long lines.
    My bride and I are just happy the early folks are getting out there and standing…..on Nov 2 we hopefully will have a shorter line!

  7. superhawk Says:

    One of the following:

    Bushies are coming out of the woodwork to vote FOR him; or

    Anti-Bushies are coming out to vote AGAINST him.

    NO ONE IS VOTING FOR JOHN KERRY.

    I don’t think there are that many people who hate the President enought to stand in line for 5 hours, do you?

  8. David in Atlanta Says:

    I just tried to vote in DeKalb County, Georgia, which is part of Metro Atlanta. The area I live in is a predominantly African American area with an overwhelming Democratic leaning. The wait was between 6.5 hours and 8 hours. The line stretched out the front door, down the side of the building, doubled back and then jutted out into the parking lot. It kept growing, too. I didn’t wait to find out, but people told me that there was an additional 2 hours worth of waiting once you got into the building. Even with such a long wait, people kept getting in line.

  9. David in Atlanta Says:

    BTW, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has posted a map showing early voter turnout in Metro Atlanta by county. I hope they are going to continue to update it throughout the weekend.

    And another one is up showing the percentage in registered voters for this year in Metro Atlanta.

    Just from looking at these maps, it appears that voter turnout is as strong or stronger in Democratic areas as it is in Republican areas.

    As a reference: Downtown Atlanta sits mostly in the middle section of Fulton County. The bulk of Metro Atlanta’s population is within Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett. Each of those counties has over 500,000 residents. Gwinnett has close to a million residents. Cobb and Gwinnett and North Fulton are mostly suburban and mostly Republican. The rest of Fulton County along with DeKalb County are mostly Democratic strongholds, ranging from inner-city urban, to hipster/gay urban, to upper middle class African American suburbs.

    Forsyth, Hall, and Cherokee are, like most exurb areas, hardcore Republican.

    I don’t know about the other counties shown, but they are likely to be heavy Republican.

    (I’m going off the top of my head about population sizes and political leanings. Feel free to correct or add more info. This is the most attention Georgia politics has received since the presidential race began.)

  10. Science Teacher Says:

    I have NEVER had to wait more than a few minutes to vote…we don’t have early voting here in the great state of Collieforneeah, so the only way you can go early is to vote absentee. I am totally blown away by the idea of people waiting HOURS to get to the polls.

    Wow.

  11. Aimee Says:

    I live in Illinois and we don’t have early voting. I’m dreading Tuesday. Then again, maybe I’ll end up getting the day off work … Nope, that’s not quite making standing in line for hours sound any better. And Illinois’s a sound Democratic state, so my vote may not do a bit of good. But I’ll be there, and I’ll stand in line, and I’ll vote for Pres Bush. Even if I end up burning a vacation day to do it.

  12. David in Atlanta Says:

    Aimee,
    You may not need to take a vacation day. I thought that there was a Federal law that required employers to give workers time off to vote on Election Day.

  13. willow Says:

    Superhawk,

    I don’t think there are that many people who hate the President enought to stand in line for 5 hours, do you?

    Yep. In Boulder there are…we’re talking frick’n’ Woodstock here…

  14. Cybrludite Says:

    3-4 hours is what the wait was for early voting in Louisiana. Only place to vote that way was the registrars’ offices. Luckily, I work the graveyard shift & will be hitting the polls coming home from work.

  15. C.S. Froning Says:

    Hi willow,

    Another Boulderite? My boss said he tried to vote today and the line was 2-3 hours. Based on conversations with coworkers and overheard in restaurants, etc., I think there are going to be a lot of very disappointed people in Boulder next week if the Bush trend bears out.

  16. Mary Says:

    Whitfield County, GA here. There is a lot of excitement at work about coming out to vote for Bush. I also think the last election helped people see how much a vote counts as so many contests were won by thin margins. My husband thinks the vote for the marriage ammendment is another big factor. I haven’t tried to vote early but have heard that the lines are long.

  17. betapi Says:

    Well, there was NO line for absentee voting in the East Cobb government center two weeks ago – an easy 10 minutes, and I got my ‘peach’ (‘I voted’ sticker). Sorry for the rest of you – I wanted to be sure I voted – hope you all do too.

  18. john Says:

    You’ve simply got to move to rural Washington State. (We don’t have walk-in advance voting just vote-by-mail in the state.) Our county auditor mailed out some 1350 vote-by-mail ballots out of 1500+ voters. I anticipate walking into the polling place at 8:05 on Tuesday and walking out at 8:10.

  19. John Warfin Says:

    I tried to vote on Tuesday in south Fulton (roughly the left half of Atlanta for you Yankees) since it is the least likely of 3 sites in Fulton to be used. When I got there it was packed. I went back on Thursday and it was still packed. I’m going to have to wait until Nov 2 if I don’t want to wait for three hours.

    Anyway, I’ve never imagined it to be like this. Still, since Fulton only has three sites in all the county for this early voting stuff it may be skewing your perceptions.

    If you have to wait 2 hours on a day when hundreds of sites are open in Fulton, THEN, you will know this election is something beyond the beyond.

    JLW

  20. David M. Hartzell Says:

    My mother and I are both from Glynn Co, GA, and cast our ballots last Monday. We decided to vote just before lunchtime, and the whole process took about 40 minutes.

    I might also mention to David in Atlanta, that the AJC map only includes the countys immediatly surrounding Atlanta. I have no idea how many have voted in the advance program here in Glynn.

    BTW, for those in Georgia who might want to take advantage of early voting, forget it. The advance voting ends today.

  21. Artboy Says:

    Hey Boulderites-

    Voting in the Loveland area was pretty packed but I got through quickly. I agree the Boulder and Fort Collins areas might suffer a bit of disappointment.

    Aimee from Illinois. I know how you feel. I was a Republican Party precinct Capt. in Cook County (ugh) Illinois has a real weak Rep. Party I’m afraid.

  22. David Cut Says:

    I voted in Tattnall County Georgia on Tuesday, and it only took 20 minutes. But later in the day it was taking an hour and a half. Today it was a two hour wait. I found it was better to go at 1 pm just after the lunch break. We only have about 14,000 registered voters here. We’re a heavily Democrat county, so most of my acquaintances are Democrats, but I don’t know ONE Democrat who is voting for Kerry. GO BUSH! (BTW, I’m a transplanted Washington State resident, and I used to vote absentee every election. I kind of miss that. There you can get placed on a permanent absentee list for any reason. Here in Georgia it is much harder to vote absentee.)

  23. Will Collier Says:

    For those who’ve asked, we live in the south-west corner of Cobb County. There are four early-voting sites here, and all of them have reportedly been mobbed all week.

  24. son_of_Africa Says:

    I’ve also had to wait for ages just to get a vote in, but still no luck. That might have a little to do with the fact that I’m not an American citizen though.
    But seriously, although I’m rooting for Kerry I enjoy reading this blog and like you I really hope this thing ends without the ugly scenes of 2000. may the best man win.

  25. Ted B. Says:

    I shocked at the voting times you all have been quoting. I believe you, but I’m shocked. I’ve been voting since Ford-Carter in ’76, and the longest I’d guess I waited in any election was maybe 10-minutes…if that. Generally it’s unusual if there more than two or three people in front of me.

    There was the one primary in Philadelphia were I was the ONLY Republican who voted at that polling station, they had to call for assistance since they forgot to change the machine’s party lock-out to Republican when I went into the booth. It was decided that it would be OK for me to yield the machine to the next voter, then they could change the lock-out.

    Here in my home county in NJ, we use electro-mechanical booths and we don’t have Initiatives or Referendums. Generally there’s maybe one or two bond issues that have to be approved for schools or roads; and we string-out the elections over the year. This Tuesday is the Federal and County elections, the State elections are next Fall, and the Municipal, local and school boards are in the Spring. Plus the Spring primaries.

    I have to vote maybe 4-times each year, and do vote each time. Very rarely I miss the school board elections since the polls are only open from 3pm-8pm, and there are no morning hours for that since we have to wait for the schools to close.

  26. Palooka Says:

    Early voting is concentrated in a centralized area, therefore, it can not be too instructive on total turn out.

    That said, I think we’re looking at 10-20% higher turn out than last election. I’d be surprised if it was more, but that’d be exciting.

  27. mina3727 Says:

    I live in Clayton Co, Ga., just south of Atlanta and I pass the place where advanced voting is taking place on my way to and from work. Beginning Monday morning at 7:45am and every day this week, there has been a line out the door, down the sidewalk and curving around to the parking lot, a line of approximately 300-400 people. There is a line when I go home for lunch and a line when I go home from work in the evening at 5:00. Tonight, my family and I went out to dinner and were on our way back home about 8:00pm. There was still a line coming out of the door, with a deputy standing at the back of it. The doors closed at 5:00pm. So the last person in line had to have been there a minimum of 3 hours and still wasn’t even inside the building. I will be working the polls on Tuesday and I am both dreading and looking forward to it. Finally, at last, people care enough about something to vote.

  28. Bryan C Says:

    Interesting. I’m a resident of Maryland, but my wife and I honeymooned in Glynn County (St. Simons Island) last month. Bush/Cheney stickers were everywhere, but in the two weeks we spent in the area I saw a maybe three Kerry stickers.

    I’m also amazed at that sort of turnout. In the last Presidential election I had to wait about 20 minutes, and that was in the busy time just after work. I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait longer than 30 minutes.

  29. Steve in Houston Says:

    Another Houstonian here. Today was the last day of early voting, and I went to a polling location in Jersey Village (NW suburb). I got there at 8:15, and finally finished my vote at 9:55. Turnout was heavy – though I think it was probably skewed to the beginning and end of the work day.

    I know the Dems have gotten their base exercised … but I also think Rep voters are just as conscious of the need to vote, even if it’s a token effort. Democrats aren’t the only ones who remember Florida.

    Anyway, I was impressed with the turnout, given that Texas is obviously going for Bush, and we don’t have a gubernatorial or Senatorial contest this year.

  30. newton Says:

    Steve in Houston,

    Corpus Christi saw a record of 18,000 voting early in the last two weeks.

    Portland, across the bay where I live, had early voting for just two days at the San Patricio County Annex. The line was over 2 hours long. And that’s for just a town of 18,000 people.

  31. TexasSecurityMom Says:

    I also live in a NW suburb of Houston, and I voted at the same polling place mentioned by Steve in Houston. I voted last Tuesday and didn’t have much of a wait, but it was just after 10 a.m. My husband voted this past Tuesday afternoon, and he waited for over an hour. I have talked to many other people who waited over an hour, on different days and at different times.

    My in-laws live in Clear Lake, near NASA. They went to vote on Saturday morning at 6:45, thinking they would be first in line. They had to wait for about 75 minutes.

    My parents live in a very small rural town in Central Texas. They voted last Monday, and had to wait for 30 minutes.

    The Houston area has 30 early voting locations, and most have had lines for the entire two week early voting period. I think many other cities and towns have also had record early voting. My hometown of Nacodgoches has had a record number of early voters.

    I hope that this bodes well for GWB. I have heard a lot of people talking about making sure they voted even though Texas isn’t in play, because they want to be sure that the popular vote won’t be in question this year.

  32. superhawk Says:

    I wonder if “88” refers to the gentleman’s IQ or perhaps the size of his Oscar Meyer…in microns.

  33. triticale Says:

    I know what 88 is used as code for, but my suggestion would be that he is identifying his year of birth.

  34. CognoCentric Says:

    Eight Years Should Just About Do It

    This is the worst election in my memory. And it will get worse yet if there is a post election contest. Whoever starts an election contest should know that they will not get my vote in the future.

  35. Conservative Revolution Says:

    Pump up the Base

    Vodka Pundit gives me some real hope that the Bush base is going to be out in full effect next Tuesday. If the Bush backers are turning out like this in Georgia, a state he is going to win no matter what, I can’t wait to see the rest of the country. …

  36. George Purcell Says:

    Another data point:

    Travis County, Texas (Austin)

    We have 584K registered voters.

    37% of this population, 217,000 people, have ALREADY VOTED…for comparison, only 51% voted in the entire 2000 election!

    If this is indicative of turnout elsewhere, then no one knows what is going to happen on Tuesday.

  37. McGehee Says:

    Well, 88, you’ve intimidated me.

    Too bad I already voted. Better luck next time.

  38. Pamela Says:

    Hi Artboy from the Denver metro area!

    My husband and I voted last week, the place where we voted (Aurora) in the early voting had long lines out to the street, it looked like it was about to spill into the Aurora Marketplace.

  39. geoffg Says:

    As Louisville, CO voters (outskirts of Boulder), my wife and daughter and I waited 3 hours to vote last night. The computers broke down at 5:50PM and it took about an hour to get the paper ballots in use. About 300 people waited.

    It seemed from surrounding conversations as if the pro-Bushies outnumbered the anti-Bushies about 3-2, which is highly unusual in the Republic of Boulder. Let’s hope.

    One disguntled voter kept asking “what the political affiliation of the person running the server was.” When I asked why he thought that was important, he said that the fewer people were allowed to vote, the more likely a Bush victory. (?)

  40. Carl H. Says:

    Early voter turnout in Kansas is huge this year. A friend of mine said ‘That can’t be good for the incumbent’. I replied ‘It’s Kansas, there are only 43 registered Democrats in the whole damn state’.

    Here’s to a landslide, one way or another, I hate Lawyerball.

  41. artboy Says:

    Hey Pamela and geoff.
    Colorado is solid for Bush whichever way the turnout goes. You just can’t rally the dems without rallying the reps.
    Geoff, thanks for sticking it out through the wait, the smell of patchouli oil must have been overwhelming.

  42. aaron Says:

    Cowboys. Keep to themselves, but rise to the occasion. They don’t show up in polls.

  43. jack risko Says:

    Congratulations to those braving the long lines. I voted last Saturday in Beverly Hill at the City Hall and there was no wait whatsoever. About 300 people voted that day. I suppose they were mostly Kerry people, but you couldn’t tell. One interesting thing: it was 100% male — not one woman voter in sight. Do you suppose that means anything?

    Thanks, Jack Risko

  44. Burt Says:

    All you Coloradoans. what is the general take on amendment 36? Seems to me that it would be damaging to the power of Colorado. Who is going to spend a lot of money there for advertising or visits for just one electoral vote. You will make up a little from the third party candidates. that would be their best chance to get in the Electoral game. could it be a 4/4 split with one vote going to Nader?

  45. artboy Says:

    Amendment 36 is going down like a sack of taters. Both Senate candidates appose it. It had some early steam but it won’t pass. Last I heard 35 for 55 against.

  46. artboy Says:

    that’s oppose, sorry we are against it no matter how you spell it

  47. Burt Says:

    I thought you would be. It would make CO more meaningless in the overall realm than WY. Interesting enough, TalkLeft has come out for it. thinks it will help Kerry. But I think I would rather see my candidate go down than to give up the power of the state.

  48. Karen Says:

    Another Cobb County Georgian here. We haven’t voted yet, I’m kind of old fashioned and want to wait until election day. I hope the lines will be shorter, but we’ll wait anyway, we understand the power of the popular vote. Our 20 year old daughter, who is very pro-Bush, is worried that she won’t have time to vote before school that day – she’s got a full day of classes and Regents tests on election day. She’s a journalism major at GSU hoping to infuse the MSM with common sense.

  49. Jim Z Says:

    The long waits in metro Atlanta are not surprising. Will’s comment on long waits in Glynn Co. (Brunwick) does surprise me though. I am 60 up US 341 from Will in Appling county (Baxley) and I’ve seen nothing to indicate a lot of traffic at our lone city polling place. Makes me wonder what Tuesday will be like. Normally is about 10 minutes from the time I walk in to I’m finished voting and leave. Wonder how Savannah and Macon are, or Waycross south of here?

  50. ArvoH Says:

    I voted in Savannah on Tuesday last week. It took me an one hour and fifty minutes. The line on Thursday and Friday was at least twice as long as the one I waited in. For all that, the people in were line were nice, polite and friendly even though by my rough guestimation the voters were about 50-50 Bush/Kerry.

  51. Don F Says:

    Wife and I voted last Saturday (we’re in central NC). Took about 15 minutes at the Randolph County Board of Elections office. Line was steady while we were there but no real back up. Based on general impressions, I’d say that most were voting for Bush. Of course I can’t be sure of that…

  52. Lyana Says:

    Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that we were marveling at the Afghanis who were standing in line for hours for their first chance to vote?

    Reports of that happening in the US is giving me chills. As an American living outside of the US, this election season has made me wish I were back home so I could do more – it’s just so critical. My absentee ballot is in; come on Tuesday!

  53. rc Says:

    Just did a 4 1/2 hour wait today to vote in Winston-Salem, NC. This was the last day of early voting and the only time the polls were opened on a Saturday. The line around the polling place (a county library) wrapped all the way around the building. Of course, they only had 5 voting machines for many hundreds of people, but it’s clear that the crowd was much bigger than anyone expected. It’s also interesting to note that this was in a somewhat rural area of town. This election is turning out the biggest one of my lifetime.

  54. HH Says:

    Checked out the lines to vote early in Richmond County, GA… the only bumper stickers I saw were Bush/Cheney and line was out the door and beyond…

  55. netcynic.com Says:

    Saturday Afternoon Stuff

    Chicago Boyz takes apart the Lancet study that Jon linked a few days ago indicating that 100,000 civilians died during the invasion of Iraq. The verdict: scientific malpractice.

    VodkaPundit, whose wife waited 5 1/2 hours for early voting in an unco…

  56. Carl Says:

    Step back and think about it folks. When were we ever able to talk about this sort of thing in the past, to motivate each other over websites like this? I think blog sites themselves have contributed to the high turnout, we are all able to find out what everybody else is thinking and doing.

  57. Willy Says:

    From Florida,

    We have had polls open for past two weeks, and even with multiple locations in each county open, the lines have averaged 1 hour wait. There has been just an amazing turnout. People seem to be taking it to heart that this is a very important election.

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