Voting lines not long in Columbus, Ohio

Kelly Holleran Nov. 4, 2008, 5:13pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)--Four years ago, Jeffrey Douglas waited in line at the same Columbus voting spot for at least two and a half hours.

Today, he waited less than five minutes.

Another voter recalled lines wrapped around tables as people waited to cast their vote in the 2004 presidential election in which Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., challenged President George W. Bush.

But today, people strolled into the huge voting center only a few miles away from The Ohio State University and were immediately able to cast their ballot.

Maybe the reason for the short wait was because everyone decided to show up early this morning, Douglas speculated.

"I saw lines at 5:30 this morning," he said.

Indeed, people were standing toe-to-toe in line before the voting spot even opened at 5:30 this morning, waiting to be let in, said Kathryn Walton, roster judge at the precinct.

"As soon as we got to our deadline time, it was busy until 11:30 or 12," she said.

Walton, who worked the primary election at the same location, said that was much busier than today's has been.

But that will probably not be the case today.

As of 4 p.m., 321 voters of a registered 745 had cast ballots at the 750 High Street precinct.

Maybe the record 1.46 million absentee ballots cast had something to do with low numbers today, said Michelle Buckley, another voter at the High Street location.

"Most people I know voted early," she said.

Still, she was shocked when she stepped into the room.

"I thought there would be some sort of line," she said. "I think the early voting really helped."

Watson said she was pleased with the crowd.

"In spite of all the early voting across Ohio, I believe the turnout was pretty good," she said.

Voter registration fraud - a worry in Ohio where 200,000 voters' registrations did not match state records - did not seem to be a concern among many voters at the polling place.

"Yeah, most definitely," Douglas said when asked if he trusted the voting system. "I've voted at this place for years."

Buckley, too, said she has faith in the system.

"I haven't had any issues," she said.

Walton heard about the issue on the news, but not among voters.

"I never heard any talk about it," she said. "They've all been very obedient. They come in like intelligent people, cast their ballots and vote."

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