How’s the voting going at your polling place?

Sorry about the finger. I was trying to be sly and not make people self conscious (something I'm usually better at than this). There were only about a dozen people outside the door this morning, and no more than that waiting inside, when I arrived.

This morning Holly Bounds, who covers SC for WSAV out of Savannah, wondered the following:

Looking at all the lines people are posting, I wonder why more don’t take advantage of early voting. It was no wait Saturday.

I replied:

Here’s why: Voting is a community exercise of citizenship, and should be done with one’s neighbors at the appointed time…

But y’all have heard that sermon from me before.

Actually, I didn’t have all that much time to commune with the Quail Hollow folk today. I got in and out pretty quickly. The picture above shows what I found when I got there — about a dozen people waiting outside, about that many in the queue inside. (Sorry about the finger in front of the lens, but this shot still shows the situation better than the other one I took.) Right after this shot, someone said everyone from L-Z should come on in, so I and maybe one other person did so. One of those few instances when it’s best to be at the end of the alphabet. Inside, there were only a couple of people in front of me.

In the A-K line next to me was Big John Culp, the retired Methodist minister best known for having founded the Salkehatchie Summer Service program. John lives a couple of blocks from me, and passes my house on his daily constitutional. We talked about my Uncle  Woody in Bennettsville, where John was once the pastor at the Methodist church on Main Street. I noted that where Woody would be voting today, the outcome was likely to be different from at our precinct.

That, and a brief exchange with my county councilman Bill Banning, who was leaving when I first arrived, was all the socializing I had time for. I was done voting in about 10 minutes. I could have been done faster if not for my compulsively pausing to take pictures of the voting machine screen (the picture above was taken at 8:42, the last shot I took of the screen was at 8:51).

But… that’s not the way it had been earlier. There was a long line stretching out to the parking lot earlier, but it was mostly gone when I got there at 8:40. (I had figured that would give enough time to clear out the early rush, and I was right.) Right after I entered the building  to join the short K-Z line, one of the workers looked out and marveled, “We’re almost at the end of the line!” Another worker told me there had been about 300 voters so far — I neglected to ask her whether that was the total, or just the K-Z line that she was working.

33 thoughts on “How’s the voting going at your polling place?

  1. Doug Ross

    My wife, son, and daughter have been in line for well over an hour in Blythewood. My older son and I voted absentee because we are both out of town.

    At least I know we’ve got five votes against the sales tax increase. I don’t care about any other result tonight (not even Obama/Romney) as long as the sales tax is defeated.

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  2. bud

    Here’s why: Voting is a community exercise of citizenship, and should be done with one’s neighbors at the appointed time…
    -Brad

    It’s also kind of pointless. As I’ve pointed out before there really isn’t much reason to vote except for the pride in saying you voted. At least this time around. Why not just designate a day when the weather is nice and have a big community picnic?

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  3. Brad

    Doug, I’m just going to have to go ahead and quote Oddball here from “Kelly’s Heroes:” “Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves!”

    Or better yet, “Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”

    Bud, you must be thinking of the presidential election. There were plenty of other reasons to vote.

    Reply
  4. susanincola

    I just finished voting at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church. I got there at 10:40, and the wait for Ward 25 was about 2.5 hours. Luckily, I’m in Ward 24, a much smaller ward. My wait was 50 minutes.
    There were three voting machines for each ward, and it looked like one wasn’t working for Ward 25 — the poll worker said they were “acting up”.
    I’ve seen alot of posts from downtown areas in Columbia complaining about the small number of machines and numerous ones not working — does anyone know why they don’t seem to be allocating an appropriate number of machines at many places?

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  5. Jason

    Voted at Pebble Creek Baptist at 9 am in northern Greenville this morning.

    The vote was in the church fellowship hall, but the line snaked into the sanctuary and around the back.

    I was #133.

    It felt good to vote. I wrote in a few names, too. It wasn’t a pointless exercise to me. The government asked for my share on who runs it, and I had my say.

    Of course it was small, and I can predict the outcome of all but a couple of offices. Doesn’t matter.

    I had my say, with my community.

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  6. Scout

    My experience was a lot like yours at Saluda River Elementary. I was number 34 to sign in and I think I waited maybe 20 minutes total. In my case, it was the A-K line that was shorter and my husband and I got to move up from the back :) That was at about 9:15. There were at least 6 voting machines, maybe more, all working. My family members in Richland county are experiencing very different circumstances – long waits at Meadowfield and Logan elementary and fewer machines, some not working. They had to wait around 2 hours I think.

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  7. Doug Ross

    @Brad

    Defeating a poorly defined tax increase IS a positive experience. If it is defeated, doesn’t that mean most people will be happy with the results?

    This isn’t a vote against roads or buses. It’s a vote against politicians who aren’t good stewards of the public funds. That’s a good thing.

    Reply
  8. Steven Davis II

    I voted in Lexington County this morning, I got in line at 8:05 and walked out the door at 9:10. As I was leaving the line wasn’t any shorter than it was when I got there.

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  9. Scout

    I was curious – I looked up on sc election commission website the sizes of the precincts for me (Lexington) and my Mom (Richland) and my Sister (Richland). My Mom’s has around 1700 active registered voters, My sister’s around 1400, my precinct has around 1800. Both Richland county precincts had long waits, I did not, and Brad, in Lexington County also did not. I know this is way anecdotal, but I’m just wondering is this all because of the apparently lower number of machines in Richland County or is it looking like turnout is also bigger in Richland county?

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  10. Rose

    At my Lexington polling place we had a broken machine, long lines, and fewer poll workers. Took me two hours. Took my sister over three hours in Irmo because ALL eight machines were malfunctioning for the first hour or so. Several coworkers, in Richland and Lexington, reported broken machines, fewer machines, fewer poll workers, and in one case, a disappearing poll worker that left persons with names A-L standing in line for over 30 minutes with no one to sign them in. Meadowfield had one functioning machine for 1700 people.

    I expected long lines, but did they not test these machines ahead of time?

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  11. Steven Davis II

    Rumors going around is that Obama has taken an early lead at most polling locations. The race is expected to tighten up as Romney voters get off work and vote.

    Reply
  12. Doug Ross

    Three hours and counting in Blythewood at Blythewood Middle School. My daughter said the line is impacted by them allowing anyone over 65 to jump to the front.

    Reply
  13. Brad

    Steven, exit polls skew toward Democrats, because Republicans are more likely to refuse to talk about how they voted.

    That’s something you have to adjust for…

    Reply
  14. bud

    The race is expected to tighten up as Romney voters get off work and vote.
    -SD II

    Perhaps the Obama people don’t have jobs.

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  15. Steven Davis II

    It as a joke… first told around 1800, only the names change.

    Do the Democrats being asked also end their comment with something like, “and he’s going to pay my mortgage for me… excuse me, I’m getting a text on my Obamaphone”.

    Reply
  16. Karen McLeod

    I just finished voting at Olympia school. The lines are long, and suprisingly young. They did let those of us who are senior citizens go ahead (4 years ago we had people on canes and walkers standing in line for over an hour). Also, one of the 5 machines dropped dead while I was there. I was talking to a friend who is from Seattle. She said that the state of Washington mails a ballot to all registered voters beforehand. They can fill it out and mail it back. I wonder how they prevent someone from stealing another’s ballot.

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  17. Steve Gordy

    At Hitchcock Precinct 66 in Aiken County, I was # 105 at 8:05 this a.m. It took me about half an hour, most of which can be attributed to the fact that several county races require write-in votes, thanks to the machinations of Jake Knotts.

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  18. James Cross

    Voted in Anderson at around 9:15am. Took me no more than 10 minutes. But there were no “I Voted” stickers!

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  19. Libb

    I just finished at the Rosewood Boy’s Club…2.5 hour process. Only 3 machines (at least 6 in 2008) and one of those was steadily used for curbside voting. Only 3 pollworkers, they needed at least 2 more. I’m with Bryan…who’s responsible for this mess?

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  20. Obie Wan

    1.5 hours start to finish @ Nikki Haley’s Governors Grant precinct (aka Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church).

    The Ladies Auxiliary was again so gracious — we noshed on sausage biscuits, donuts, crock-pot potato soup and fru-fru coffees…all while standing in line.

    Normal Rockwell material, I tell you. A truly grand experience.

    And 3 token minorities were in attendance!

    Reply
  21. Phillip

    I took my son and we got in and out in 30 minutes at MLK Park near Five Points, around 1 PM. My wife just got back from voting now (same precinct obviously) and said it was a five-minute wait or less.

    Reply
  22. Kathryn Fenner

    Two hours at Maxcy Gregg Senior Center starting at 11:30. Four machines working and a fairly efficient operation. Lots and lots of student age voters! yay!

    Reply
  23. Dave C

    Over here in Oconee County (just outside the Seneca city limit), my wife and I were among the mid-200s on the list around 1 p.m. While the line was longer than I’ve seen at our precinct in many years, we got in and out in less than 30 minutes…including the time it took a poll worker to fix his mis-entry of my wife as me on his computer. They had five operational voting machines. A sixth, I was told, “…refused to wake up this morning…” and was out of service.

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  24. Steven Davis II

    1-2 hours in Lexington, 5 minutes in MLK Park… what does that tell you? Maybe they all voted absentee.

    Reply
  25. Michael Rodgers

    The waits are hours and hours at North Springs Elementary School. Auggh. The voters are monuments to patience.

    And it goes to show how preposterous the Voter ID priority was. The idea that one person — let alone thousands and thousands — would wait for hours and hours to impersonate a voter is utterly and completely ludicrous.

    Reply
  26. Kathryn Fenner

    Steve voted in an hour and a half at one PM. The State reported that one in West Columbia was very sparse, but one in Cayce was mobbed. I do not think you can draw any conclusions from this, except that it is very chaotic.

    Reply
  27. Barry

    I held my nose and voted in my precint out in Elgin.

    I didn’t like either Presidential candidate.

    I am especially bummed that I can no longer vote for Senator Lourie. With the changes in the district, he’s not my Senator anymore.

    Sen Lourie’s office always quickly responded to any email i sent him and I generally agreed with his balanced approach.

    Now I will likely have a Senator – Tony Barwick (who lives in Sumter – and I live 5 miles from Spring Valley High School in Columbia)- who appears convinced that the biggest issue in South Carolina is our high taxes. Good gracious.

    BTW- There was no wait to vote around 5pm.

    Reply

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