Voters Wait Hours at Veterans Memorial

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More than 50,000 people have cast their vote early and in person in Franklin County, and some people have waited more than five hours in line. The Board of Elections says roughly 23,000 voters at Veterans Memorial have been democrats, 22,000 were independents and just 5,000 were republican. The atmosphere at Veterans Memorial was similar to that of a county fair or festival complete with sunny fall skies, music blaring from speakers, even a cotton candy stand. But while festive, it was not a typical festival. It was the final day of early voting in Franklin County. The lines were long, very long. People waited hours to make sure their vote was cast. Vincent Price and Whitney Lambert had just one reason for coming out early: To vote for Obama. Others, like Kendre Bussy were just ready to get it over with and hope they made the right decision by choosing to wait in line before election day. “There are a lot of people out there,” Bussy said. “It could be much better at your individual voting booths, you never know.” Bill Montooth voted early for a slightly different reason. “I have to leave the country this afternoon,” Montooth said. Montooth says it is the historic weight of this election that had him standing in line for hours. “I think we’re probably going to enter a new era, I think the odds are quite heavily in favor of our first black American president,” Montooth said. “Whether you’re voting for him or not, it’s a threshold that we’ve needed to cross.” Most Americans know the election will affect their future but few have the potential to see as much of an impact as Clyde Whitlow. Whitlow said his four hours in line were small compared to the changes the election could make in his life. “It’s very important to me because I go back to the desert in a few weeks,” Whitlow said. “It’s going to determine how our policies are going to change in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.” The day included some problems for voters. One woman left without voting because health problems kept her from standing or sitting for an extended period of time, another because it was time for his child to come home from school, and several students said they would be back later, after class. Jamie Conley said the people she was around during her three hour wait remained in good spirits. “I didn’t see anybody turn around to leave, and I thought I might,” Conley said. “People said they would stay for only a certain amount of time, but people started saying, ‘Well, we got this far so it’d be a shame to turn around and walk out.’ It wasn’t bad.” While tens of thousands stood in line to cast early ballots in person, nearly a quarter million other Franklin County voters filled out their early ballots at home and mailed them in.

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