Long lines to vote early - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

10.24.04

Long lines to vote early

The line spills out the door and onto the sidewalk outside the New Hanover County Board of Elections. This is the first and only Sunday voters can cast their ballots. And they waited.

"I work on Tuesday, and I don't have enough time lapse in between jobs to vote," said Beth Ferguson, who was waiting in line Sunday. "So, it's convenient."

Rocking chairs give those standing in line a rest. And the fish tank provides entertainment for kids.

The Nelson family came to vote Saturday, but left after they heard the wait was an hour long.

"So we decided to come back Sunday hoping it'd be a little shorter, and it wasn't but we're a little more prepared to wait today," said Tamera Nelson, who waited with her husband and two children.

Election officials say the lines, while long, are a good sign. And not just for voter turnout.

"We hope it'll take stress off the precinct workers on election day," said Renee Chesnut, director of the New Hanover County Board of Elections. "If everyone comes and does it now maybe we won't have lines on election day, and it'll run smoother."

So far, more than 6,000 people have stood in the long lines, waiting to cast their ballot early. But many voters say the wait is worth it.

"It's our responsibility as parents and as citizens to vote and make good decisions," Nelson said. "So, it's definitely always worth the wait."

Bonnie Schwarz said she only waited 45 minutes to cast her ballot, and she didn't mind the line.

"Oh no, not at all. Not to vote for a president and all the other elections," Schwarz said. "It's very important in our lives to have a good turnout for voting."

Many stood in line for more than an hour before finally casting their ballots.

But come November 2nd, they won't have to wait in line. They'll just be waiting for the results.

Reported by Sara Straeten
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