Athens, GA– When Brittany Tippins drove to Clarke Central High School this morning to vote, she was expecting long lines and a very long wait time to cast her ballot. Those expectations were dashed after ten minutes when she walked out of the school’s gym with an “I Voted” sticker on her shirt.
“To my surprise, there was really not too many people out here. And that’s kind of a good thing, because I did not want to wait in a long line. But voting was very easy,” Tippins said.
The Clarke Central voting location had seen 189 voters by as early as 11:00 a.m., with most of those voters coming within the first two hours of the polls opening, according to precinct manager Alene Hall.
Tippins is just one of several voters who experienced short lines or no lines at all at the polls today. And many of the workers at these polls attribute the short wait times to the record-breaking early voter numbers from the last two weeks in Athens.
Precinct 4B manager Nan Leathers says that although they experienced a line out the door at Memorial Park when the polls first opened, they’ve done a much better job at managing those lines throughout the day.
“Early voting helped tremendously, especially in precincts that have a lot of college students… the early voting took a lot off the precincts on election day,” Leathers said.
Leathers and her team were able to help 698 voters cast their ballots before 1:00 p.m. today, and are expecting that number to more than double before the day is done.
One of the busiest voting precincts today has been 8C, which is located at the Athens-Clarke County Fire Station #7 on Barnett Shoals Road. The location had 474 voters according to the noon update, and more than 200 of those cast ballots within the first two hours of the polls opening.
Precinct clerk Mallie Brossett predicts that while the lines are short and manageable now, they won’t be towards the end of the day.
“It’s definitely going to pick up around 4:30 when people start getting off of work, we’re expecting to have a line out the door at 7 o’clock,” Brossett said.
Leathers and Brossett both want to remind voters that as long as they are in line by the time the polls close at 7:00 p.m., they will still be able to vote.
By Cam Gaskins