Generally speaking, the accounts of huge turnout have (surprise!) died down as the morning rush concluded; most (but not all) readers are reporting shorter lines later in the morning. Tough to draw any conclusions from this other than turnout is probably higher than 2004 but hard to say how much, and that rather than being consistently high it’s following the traditional daily pattern.
A few accounts from readers across the country that caught my eye…
From Fort Wayne, Indiana:
Very large crowd at my normally small precinct this morning before work. It usually takes 15 min. to vote, this hour it was 1 hour. We are a mixed socio-economic and age urban area. Couldn’t see a lot of young or first time voters – just everyone showing up.
That’s in Rep. Mark Souder’s House district. According to my 2006 Almanac of American Politics, the Cook Partisan Voting Index is Republicans +16. Bush carried the district, 68-31. Dan Quayle’s old seat.
From deep rural Texas:
From a rural and small county in Texas (total population 5000, quite democrat but very very conservative – Bush by 25 in 2000 and 2004). I voted at 0745 on the way to work. I was the ninth person to vote that day. Two hours later my wife reports she was the 35. BUT – the poll workers indicated this precint had over 1000 absentee/early votes – which was TWICE the total number of votes cast in either 2000 or 2004. Don’t know what it means. But low poll turnout may not correlate to low total – they have really been pushing early voting Texas.
From Tucson, Arizona:
In my district, which is a fairly conservative section of Tucson, AZ, about a 25 minute wait. Longest I’ve been in. Lot of ballot proposition and judicial retention votes slowing things down. Sadly, many of the voters when I was there had the look of Obama voters — women with little make-up, men with ponytails. Maybe most McCain people were already at work.
From all-important Ohio:
Turn-out in heavily Republican Auburn Twp., Geauga County — a rural area about 25 miles from downtown Cleveland — was VERY heavy at 8:15 this morning.
That’s in Republican Bob Latta’s spread-out district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of Republicans +10. Rep. Steve Latourette’s district next door, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+2.
From another corner of Ohio:
Polls opened at 6:30am. My polling place is a large Lutheran church. When I arrived at 6:51, the line was already halfway around the it. A woman in line kept saying she’d voted here for 25 years and had never seen it so busy. When I left at 8:15, the line still stretched halfway around the church.
Technically, I live in Upper Arlington, a wealthy inner-ring suburb about four miles from downtown Columbus. In 2000 and 2004, I was surprised that Gore and Kerry signs outnumbered Bush signs. This time, McCain slightly outnumbers Obama.
Upper Arlington is in Republican Deb Pryce’s district, which has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of Republicans +1. Pryce is retiring, and Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who came within about a thousand votes of Pryce in 2006, is now in a close race against state Sen. Steve Stivers.
Just called my parents who live in Lancaster, PA (one of the bigger red areas in the state). They’ve said turnout seems to be very heavy, and my aunt, who is 75 and lived there her whole life, hasn’t ever seen turnout like this in her district (Drumore Twshp.) I know its only anecdotal, but that seems to be the only place I can put my hope today.
Lancaster is in Republican Joe Pitts’ district, with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of Republicans +11.
Columbia, South Carolina:
Columbia, Harbison district (Irmo, formerly very republican, shifting to more AA voters).
Heavy, very heavy. Arrived at 6:30, last people inside the building, the line stretched around the building 10 minutes later. 1:45 to vote. Heavy AA representation, but mostly mixed. Almost NO youngsters in line.
Friends across my floor waited 3 hours in many cases to cast their votes across the Richland/Lexington County areas.
This is not a big election here, what with Amnesty Graham the only ‘controversy’ on our ballot. ’06 midterms took me about 10 minutes.
The one joy in this was watching AA voters walk out of the booth, finally able to vote for a black man as president. Deluded, maybe, but happy, joyous even.
SC is not at risk, obviously, but the turnout was amazing.
Checking in from deep red suburban Atlanta. Our polling place had a wait of less than 5 minutes shortly after 10 a.m.. They moved the machines from their usual place in the school library to the larger multi-purpose room (i.e. the gym). About 12 machines, all in use, with perhaps 4 or 5 people waiting. I live less than 5 miles from two of the early voting locations that were clocking wait times of 2 hours or more last week. I think that kept the wait times in the precinct very low.
And the hometown of you-know-who:
Not that it means much, but I just voted in Chicago… no lines at all. The election workers were bored silly.