October 21st, 2008
04:50 PM ET

A TWO HOUR WAIT to vote early

Editor's Note: CNN has establish a national voter hotline for individuals to report potential voting problems and irregularities on Election Day. On air, viewers will see a map that highlights irregularities across the country. In addition, CNN.com users can zero in on specific counties in each state experiencing the largest number of Election Day complaints, as well as the most commonly occurring type of problems. The toll-free voter hotline number will be



David Mattingly | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Election day is two weeks away...TWO WEEKS.

Imagine my surprise to find a TWO HOUR WAIT to vote early (see photo...that's me on the lower right). My home precinct is just outside Atlanta and in previous elections there had been a line on occasion but nothing like this.

Everyone I talk to is excited about this election. They believe this is a critical time for the country. Some are very worried about the future of the economy and their jobs.

Others say they want to be part of history. No one is complaining about the long line that snakes it way through the corridors of this massive government building. It's interesting to see the looks of amazement as people turn a corner at the end of a hallway only to find a longer line ahead of them.

One voter told me she believes this is the best alternative. It took her four hours to vote in 2000 and was worried it would be worse this time. Personally, I'm very happy to be in this line...officials tell me it was even longer yesterday!

Filed under: David Mattingly • Raw Politics • TV
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. JC

    I went to check the lines in Tampa today. Based on past years at the same polling place I knew the line was at least 3 hours long – out the library, around the building from back to front, across the parking lot and to the road out front. The traffic director told me to come at 8 am and wait till the polls open at 10 to have a short line. Wait two hours for a short line? Our Supervisor of elections is a crook named Buddy Johnson – a republican – who has screwed up every election he has run – so it will be worth the wait 3 hours to vote him out and get the outstanding Phyllis in office. They could speed this up with more machines – there are tons of them sitting unused at the polling places that will be open Nov 4 th. But Buddy is a buddy of Jeb Bush and Jeb is just as crooked as his brother and has about the same IQ. I always liked Barbara Bush as first lady, she is the only Bush whoever made any sense but I often wonder how she could have delivered such stupid kids – guess it is the old man’s genes.

    October 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  2. Kathy, Chicago

    Wow, it only took me five minutes to vote with each of my kids. My only wish now is for someone to cyber steal all of Obama's money and use it for a good cause-maybe the stimulus package, and get those awful non stop ads off the air. I am done with the election!

    October 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  3. Chaz

    Yesterday early voting started in Fort Lauderdale. I voted today after waiting for 3 1/2 hours. We had people behind us that had driven down from Pompano Beach because they didn't want to stand outside in the heat. I wonder what will happen on Election Day. Hope they don't lose our early votes... WE LOVE ANDERSON 360 IN FLL!

    October 21, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  4. Matt Dougan

    I think this is great news, because it shows how important this election is to all of us. It doesn't matter if you have to stand in line for a couple of hours, this is the future of our country at stake!

    October 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm |
  5. Kelley

    My mother and I just filled out our Absentee ballots. We are from Cleveland, Ohio. While filling them out, I noticed that I had the ballot ontop of a book. The name of the book was Remembering Slavery.
    I told my mother we both had goose bumps.
    WE are proud to vote!

    October 21, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  6. Phyllis Miller

    Since we are already being shown that our current voting system is obviously corrupt, why doesn't someone come up with a better idea, or at least a backup plan? Would voting when you apply for your stimilus check or file taxes work? They could create new jobs to handle the extra workload.

    October 21, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  7. Annette

    To every one who may read the blogs,early voting in Wisconsin has been for about two weeks or more now and it is the bomb. You are making a difference in this election. yo are letting your voice be heard and may God bless us all. God will be with us but we have to continue the grass root effort even after the election. It is time to take the country back. I feel pretty good now that I voted at least a week ago.As a matter of fact it was on debate night.US stay incouraged we can take America back. Obama Moma Wisconsin

    October 21, 2008 at 8:03 pm |
  8. Sheila

    I went to our poll and voted on Saturday in the early voting. The line was very very long and I was told that there was a two hour wait at our poll in tennessee. My husband was also with me but was waiting in the car to see if I could find a way for him to vote without standing in a line for two hours. My husband is disabled and can not stand in line for any significant length of time. There were no chairs or places for anyone to sit down and there were a number of other senior citizens. A poll worker walked by and I asked if there were any arrangements made for people with disabilities who would not be able to stand in a line. The man was so nice and said why yes, we take them right in and they can vote. The man took me and we got my husband out of the truck, went into the building and to the front of the line and then voted. It took all of twenty minutes. Had I not asked we would have had to take my husband home without his voting. There were no signs saying anything about accomadations. On our way out we spotted a man and a woman who appeared to be in their 80"s, both had canes and were trying to walk across the road to the poll. I told them to be sure and ask for accomadations for disabled to vote as it was not noticed. My concern is that people with disabilities need to know to ask and make noise when they are unable to stand in these long lines. Make them accomadate you, don't go home and not vote because you physically are not able to stand in line. I never expected them to take us to the front of the line. I was just hoping that they would have a chair for my husband to sit in while we waited our turn.

    October 21, 2008 at 8:00 pm |
  9. Bourgeois

    Early voting started in Tennessee last week, and the lines are long everyday. More than 100,000 votes have been cast in my small county alone. We're late in the fourth quarter of this presidential race, and in basketball lore, it's garbage time. Nothing really substantive is coming out of these campaigns at this point, and the people have stopped listening. It's time to vote !

    October 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  10. Dulcie


    I voted by mail-in ballot, but I work at a City Hall which will be a polling place. We have a small conflict. The room we use for voting is also our courtroom and we also have court there that day.

    Could get interesting.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  11. Anthony Steele from Kansas City, MO

    Long lines to vote. What's going to happen on election day when polls close before all the people in line get to vote?

    October 21, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  12. Larry, Jonesboro, Georgia

    Since early voting began on Sept. 22nd in my county, I have been to the one location twice (for myself and to take my son). Lines have gotten longer, but people don't seem to mind because of the importance of this election. I saw similar numbers of people standing outside in a pouring rain last week. Elections officials need to prepare for massive turnouts around the country on election day or there likely will be chaos beyond imagination.

    October 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  13. Gonzalo Castro in Phoenix, AZ

    I wish they'd give the results early too. People really want to get rid of Bush ASAP and have something to look forward to. And I can assure at least 80% of those people are also voting for Obama, this guy has such a spirit and strength as a leader, that people that did not vote before are now voting, and even early. When have you seen crowds of 100 thousand people, 75 thousand people, on a daily basis.
    Sure, Palin brought up SNL's ratings, but there is a reason why those guys are not in government. How awesome it is that everytime you screw up ( everytime she opens her mouth) you get to go on SNL have a laugh at yourself and be reedemed of your faults. A good indicator of how a government with Palin would look like I can just see it, " We have tonight's SNL show with special guest VP Sarah Palin to talk on her decision to bomb Siberia due to the closeness to Alaska" .

    October 21, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  14. Naranda

    Sorry, you had to wait that long. I voted today and it took 40 minutes. I thought that was not a long wait. Where I went was very organized.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  15. Robert

    I arrived to vote in downtown Atlanta today at 10:20 a.m. for Fulton County early voting and I waited 2 hours to do so. The line had to be stopped at the security checkpoint and there were people out the door in front of the building waiting to get in to vote when I left. This is my first time to vote early and the excitement was tangible that change is in the air.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm |
  16. Mike Bruno

    The early voting numbers are in and the Democrats outnumber the Republicans.
    This should be no supprise as the Republicans are at work paying for the Democratic welfare.
    People with no ambition are going to love Obamas United Socialist States of America.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  17. Greg New Rochelle NY

    As part of your top ten culprits for the financial crisis, you should undoubtedly include two entities - Standard & Poors and Moodys. Rating agencies have mostly ducked their blame so far but just as the accounting firms failed investors and Sarbanes Oxley had to be imposed, rating agencies were the last stop to protect investors: where were they?

    The mere fact that the words "Sub-Prime" were used in connection with mortgage backed securities and their derivatives, represented a huge red flag that was turned green by greed.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  18. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    THIS IS AMAZING! We can not take our votes or our Nation for granted.

    Regardless of which side you are on....... voting is an American privilege!

    Way to go America!


    October 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  19. Melissa

    I'm glad to see the positive side of this negative-filled political season. Bad news is always going to be there to report, but how fabulous to see a silver lining. People should be out there voting every chance they get, not just nationally, but locally as well. That's where change really happens. Keep up the encouraging reporting!

    October 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  20. wanda davis

    Please let Gov Palin no, that a family with down-syndrome and hemophillia is a real thing. There is no daycare or extra money for
    medical care,like she has and has been afforded.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  21. Susan

    Please......before you vote, google PNAC and John McCain.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  22. Chad

    Long lines can be trying, but it is worth it to be a part of our democracy. Way better than they have it in Iraq. When they voted last, some people died when casting their vote. Another very long wait is how long it will take this network to cover Joe Biden's latest gaffe from this weekend – saying that if Obama is elected there will be a major incident (possibly terrorism) from Al Queda, Russia, etc. He also said that he has forgotten much about foreign policy. I have heard these clips on other networks for days. My favorite CNN shows are Situation Room and AC 360 – Why won't they cover this story. I want to hear it from a fair CNN perspective.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  23. Daisy Rivera

    It is too late to try to distract voters attention with disfunctional and nonsense attacks... We are ready to change the future of our children, we are ready to make history, we are ready to change our nation. We are ready to become again the " nation of dreams " We are ready to vote and vote with a clear political view in mind. THE PARTY IS OVER..

    October 21, 2008 at 6:06 pm |
  24. Donovan Profit

    I am so glad to hear that people are coming out in record numbers to make a difference to this year's election.....in advance. I recently heard something about certain counties in the South and Southeast where people have bought billboard ad space in order to promote the Election Day.....problem is that they are promoting the wrong election day...ON PURPOSE. We need to stay aware that there is a mis-information campaign that is underway in the closing days of this election. With that in mind, I and my partner wrote a song to remind EVERYONE when Election Day is.. It's real funky and kinda catchy.

    Click here to listen: http://www.divshare.com/download/5632175-525

    October 21, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  25. Nuwan Samaranayake

    I am from Houston and we are having long lines for the second day today. I am very excited to see this enthusiasm from the people. Finally, after years and years, I see people are participating in this democratic process. This is our right and our responsibility. I do not want to wait for hours to vote. So I will be checking all this week to find a shorter line :). This is an historic election. A game changer for America. And it is the first time I vote as a naturalized immigrant.

    October 21, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  26. Renée

    On no! Is that what I have to look forward to? I live in Atlanta too! Yikes.

    October 21, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    Looking at these long lines makes me really appreciate my absentee voter ballot all the more. Looking at the line in the picture it looks more like a line to a Disney World ride than a voting line. I am just really glad I don't have to try to stand in it.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 21, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  28. Adriana R Maxwell Marrietta,Ga

    Would you like some cheese with that whine? Be happy you get to vote and resaonably sure that your vote is going to the person you actually wanted. A lot of other countries would be happy to be in you shoes.

    October 21, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  29. Jim Hopewell


    Sarah Palin's comments about patriotism [not paying taxes] and who she thinks are Americans, are outrageous. Perhaps she's too young to remember an earlier President who, in his inaugrual speech said "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Maybe she missed her high school class on what patriotism really is.

    Jim Hopewell

    October 21, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  30. j tyson

    Palin won’t say Obama is a socialist but claims “Joe Plumber said it”! Sounds like she is saying I won’t say it and we have nothing. They need bombs to fight this political war. Will the McCain team claim they didn’t drop the bomb when confronted!
    Joe, fight, anger, war, and point the finger is all they have
    Good luck McCain Team

    October 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  31. Max

    I believe there is TOTALLY secure SOFTWARE that can be used for VOTING.

    People could vote from the OFFICE, home or wherever they MIGHT have Internet access.

    All kinds of AGENCIES already have SIMILAR secure software they USE for regular BUSINESS.

    BUT what do I know????

    October 21, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  32. herb

    I admire those people who take time to vote. I will vote and our polls open at 6am and the wife and I will be in line at 5:45 why so early we always are the early bird–come rain ,sleet or snow

    October 21, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  33. Matt

    Waiting in long lines is expected. But honestly how is this news? Why are we not hearing more about the OPEC meeting to cut production to drive up oil prices again? The race for president is extremely important but as an average "Joe the Plumber" but it grows tiresome to watch the same clip over and over again whenever the price of oil is about to shoot through the roof again.

    October 21, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  34. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I wonder if I should take the day off to ensure that I can make my vote on Nov. 4.

    October 21, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  35. Todd

    Early voting started in San Antonio, Texas, yesterday. I waited in a long line, but what a thrill to vote in this race! We have electronic voting machines and they were working like a charm.

    October 21, 2008 at 5:31 pm |
  36. Cindy

    It has been this way in Georgia since they started the early voting. As of the middle of last week they said over half a million people had voted early. The lines have been out the doors and into the parking lots all over also.

    I can just imagine how it's going to be on November 4th. Thank God I won't have to be waiting then.


    October 21, 2008 at 5:05 pm |