I voted early in Charlotte, NC this morning.
I take Zumba classes from an outfit called Queen City DanceOut. They have their classes all over the city, often in community rec centers. This morning, I went to the class at the Bette Rae Thomas rec center on the West side of Charlotte and was surprised to find the parking lot packed. Because it was an early voting location!
When I got there a few minutes before 10 (which is when the early voting locations open), the line to vote wrapped all the way around the entranceway and people were still coming in. I would say more than 50 people were waiting, but probably less than 100. A line of stalwart early risers with canes sat in the chairs outside the voting room.
When I came out of class at 11, the line had died down a bit, but people were still coming in at a steady pace.
I decided I was going to vote. I saw a volunteer outside the no-campaigning zone and went to see what he was giving out. Sadly, it wasn't a complete voting guide, just a flyer for one of the local judges, Tyyawdi Hands. After thinking for a moment, I loaded up the Mecklenburg County Democrats' website on my iPhone. Even though it was a little hard to read and only partly mobile-friendly, I managed to get to my list of judges, write down all the relevant names on Judge Hands' handy flyer, and go to vote.
There were 10 machines operating in the voting room and short lines to get your absentee ballot and to vote. All the machines were in constant use. Demographically speaking, I was the only white person in the room the entire time I was waiting and voting, except for one of the polling place volunteers, which is not surprising given that the northwest side is pretty heavily African American. A few other ladies from the Zumba class voted as well.
I voted for President Obama. I checked the little paper-trail tape in my machine to make sure that the correct vote had printed on there after I pressed the button. It had (whew!). Then I pushed the big DEMOCRAT button. Then I voted for all my judges, and left the building with a huge smile on my face.