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How Long Will it Take You to Vote?

Several news outlets have reported wait times of up to eight hours at some early voting locations. But for me, my wait was far less.

This is the last week of early voting ahead of next Tuesday's election. Last week there were reports from various news outlets of people waiting in line for up to eight hours. One Lawrenceville Patch reader even lamented about his wait time at a satellite location in Suwanee this past weekend.

"You guys in Gwinnett County did a terrible job with early voting at George Pierce Park on Saturday," said reader Ed Clark in a comment on a story on our site. "My family and I waited for 6.5 hours. This is a fine demonstration of the incompetence of the people running this process. I don't blame the volunteers. The bureaucrats are the responsible parties. You are not doing your jobs and the rest of us have to pay for it."

Yesterday I heard from Gwinnett County official that some locations had wait times as 15 minutes but the lines would get longer as Election Day near. So after seeing Mr. Clarks' comment, I decided to check things out myself. 

I arrived at the Gwinnett County Elections Office at 1:30pm Tuesday, prepared to wait an hour or two. I asked the ladies working the end of the line how long they anticipated the wait to be. They told me about 45 minutes, which was about as long as they said Monday when I was there at about 2pm for another story. 

One of the women hands me a clipboard, and I check my watch. 1:33pm. There about five turns snaking in the parking lot, but the line is not very long and we are continuously taking a step or two closer and closer to the door.

The people around me are bundled up. Most of them are killing time by chatting with fellow voters or checking their iPhones. A few brought books with them to read. One older man even had a folding chair so he could sit and rest.

After standing in the chilly wind for about ten minutes, a poll worker hands out clipboards with a form for each of us to sign. 

About 15 minutes after I arrived, I made the final turn. Another ten minutes and I would be inside the building.

As soon as the small group of us the poll worker let through got inside, we were taken into a room to stand in another line. That line was five minutes tops. I handed the clerk my form and my Georgia Driver's License. After a few clicks on a keyboard, she handed me back my license and my yellow voting card.

I went to an empty machine. There were about 20 machines and three of them were vacant. I inserted my voting card, touched the screen to make my selections, the card ejected when I was done. I handed my voting card to another poll worker, got my "I'm a Georgia Voter" sticker and was on my way. The time was 2:08.

The entire process took 35 minutes. Ten minutes less than the estimate given to me by the women I encountered at the beginning of the process.

The time I went to vote, 1:30pm, was a fairly slow time at the Elections Office. It was after the lunch rush and before people picked up the kids and got off of work, so wait times may actually be longer than during peak times.

What was your voting experience like? When and where did you vote and how long did you have to wait? Tell us in the comments section below.

Ed Clark October 31, 2012 at 09:00 PM
In order for you to make a legitimate comparison, you would have had to go on a Sat. when the lines were infinitely larger the entire day. All locations in Gwinnett County were having the same issues, so maybe those in charge learned something from it by the time you went after lunch on a Tues.
Karen McGinty November 02, 2012 at 11:12 AM
You can always vote on Tuesday, election day around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when more than likely you can walk in at your own voting place, without a line.
Karen McGinty November 02, 2012 at 11:34 AM
We are so fortunate to live in a country, where we can elect the people who govern us. Where we can complain to our neighbors about the elected officials and not worry about if we will get killed for our comments. So whether it takes you ten minutes to vote or 5 hours to vote, thank you for voting!!
Carol MacDonald November 02, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Early voting stations are manned by many community volunteers (paid a modest sum for their time and effort) to assist Poll Managers who are often under-staffed. Help your community by volunteering at your polling place in Gwinnett County - instead of complaining about it. Here is a Gwinnett Co. link, updated four times daily, that provides the public with approximate wait times for each of the polling places. For example, the average wait times from November 1 at the various early voting stations ranged from 28-64 minutes. http://www.gwinnettcounty.com/portal/gwinnett/Home/Stories/ViewStory?story=Advance_Voting_Wait_Times

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