Yahoo! News is asking readers and voters to share brief anecdotes and photos from Election Day. Here are one voter’s observations.
FIRST PERSON | Hello From Austin, Texas.
I am a 67-year-old woman who has voted in every presidential election since I was old enough to vote. Being old-fashioned, I always wait for Election Day to vote and I always vote in my precinct. Austin is in Travis County and this year, Travis County allowed voters to vote at any polling site they wished to. There were 200 polling sites available.
Until this year, I voted at Joslin Elementary School but the site was moved across the street to Randall’s Supermarket. I was expecting to write here that there were no lines and it took me 10 minutes to vote. That is how it has always been and that is what I expected. I was hoping that I could come up with 150 words.
Not So Fast!
I was surprised as well as glad to see that Randall’s parking lot was full. Since I have never seen a crowded parking lot at Randall’s, even before major holidays, I knew that it had to be people voting. As I got closer to the store, I noticed what appeared to be a very long line of people waiting to vote. When I got there, I was stunned. The line was very long and not moving very fast. I got into line uncertain of what was going on.
How About Going Somewhere Else?
There was an election worker trying to encourage voters from the middle to the back of the line to go somewhere else to vote. His wife was at another precinct close by and she was calling him with updates about her site. They had no lines while our lines were unbearably slow. Several voters took his advice and decided to go to another precinct to vote. I don’t drive so I had to stay where I was.
Randall’s was nice enough to bring us some tomato soup samples as we stood in line while Starbucks gave out some coffee samples.
It Was A Long Wait!
I do not know how long I had to stand in line before I got to vote but it was over an hour. No one looked very happy about this wait. I have never had to wait so long. There was no line whatsoever four years ago.
It is possible that more people came out to vote this election or perhaps more people chose to wait until election day. I think that the problem was with open voting — that voters did not have to vote in just their precinct but could vote at any polling place. For whatever reason, my Randall’s was a very popular site. It could be that it was convenient or maybe voters came to vote and eat lunch or buy groceries at the same time.