So I live in Cobb County, not exactly a liberal place (see Gingrich, Newt). I decided to vote today with early voting, and headed to the closest and most convenient place for me - the Galleria Mall.
I walked in to the mall at 10:02am (By Jocks and Jills for those cobbians) and saw a short line. I cheered internally, and struted over the short line, only to find out there was a staging area before you got to that line. I nodded, a little nervously, and walked with about 10 other folks to the other side of the mall...where there was a line of 100-200 people at least. I wasn't sure if I should stay, as I had only allocated about 2 hours to vote before work.
I overheard a rumor from the line saying it would only take an hour to vote, so I marched to the end and made small talk with those around me.
I was surprised how fast Line #1 was moving, and within half an hour (and only 10 pages into my book) I was being shipped off from Line #1 into Line #2 (which was that first line I saw.)
From there we winded our way through an old restaurant, and eventually ended up where you sign a form for early voting. That line took another 20 minutes to work through.
Finally it was Line #3, where they looked you up on the voter electronic database. They had a dozen computers with 1 not working. After 10ish more minutes the poll workers sent me to the computer, got checked in, got my card, and went and voted.
Quick voting - democrat when available, one race was between a republican and libertarian so went for the libertarian there, and the rest were unopposed (I toyed with the idea of typing myself in, but in the end voted for them anyhow.) Four ballot measures, voted yes on all of them except one that seemed fishy about using tax revenue marked for schools for development (which I think is for the beltine, yet, but I work in the eduction field and want to make sure schools get all the money they need.)
While confirming my ballot, which was correct (so no evil diebold mistakes on me today), I took a moment. I cherished seeing that "Obama" and that "Martin" on my ballot. I looked around, and about half the voters in line were white and half were black (It could have been 60-40 white-black, but certainly looked 50-50 to me.) If we're getting that kind of turnout in Cobb County...look out for a shocker on election night.
The entire experience took be about an hour and fifteen minutes. Now, thats fantastic. Most of my friends had about a 3 hour wait, and some of the news says 8 hour voting lines yesterday.
But no problems here, in what was one of the best voting experiences I've ever had (keep in mind my first election was 2000, voting on a butterfly ballot in Georgia after waiting 4 hours.) The poll workers were very professional yet friendly, and had things moving along at a quick pace. The location was great, and indoors! (Cold here today, well, cold for Atlanta in the 40s) If you're in Cobb County, GA, and want to vote early, go to the Galleria Mall location.
So now that I've voted, I think I'll volunteer for the Obama campaign on my day off this upcoming Friday...