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Ind. early voters see long lines

October 30, 2008 3:33:50 PM PDT
Early voters are experiencing long lines and very long wait times in Lake County, Indiana. In Hammond, some say they have waited up to five hours to cast their ballots.

One site in Hammond has only two voting machines. That coupled with thousands of people seeking to be a part of the presidential race before Election Day, is creating a long wait.

It was Anita Lewis' day off. Since 10 a.m., she spent it trying to be a good citizen.

"You come down the stairs, you fill out the form. Once you fill out the form they call you back, take your form from you and get your driver's license and then you wait to vote," Lewis said.

Lewis is fortunate; she can wait. But Lee Michaels' dogs were beckoning from the parking lot. And after nearly two hours getting nowhere, the ex-GI says he will come back Friday.

"They're too slow," Michaels said.

There are just two voting machines for the polling place and no election officials would speak to ABC7. Voter Roy Gillespie literally waited by the door for nearly four hours.

"They have two voting machines and then a computer, so therefore they select the person that's in the computer and find out what distriict you're in to make sure you're legally registered to vote. My theory is that if they can't handle it -- you've got people coming back from yesterday to get processed to vote. What are they going to do at 6 o'clock?" he said.

A Barack Obama staffer encouraged people to wait. It will only get worse Election Day, one union leader says.

"The irony in this election is that in the past the discussion has been about voter apathy. This year it's about voter excitement. So the challenge is to accommodate the excitement that is in the air by everybody, regardless of who they're going to vote for," said James Muhammad, Service Employees International Union.

It's a concept that delights those for whom all this is new.

"Just excited, look at all these people. It's my first time to vote. It's going to mean something," said Royalene Wilson, first time voter.

Indiana early voting continues until noon Monday.


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