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article imageEarly voting in Chatham County, Georgia a microcosm of America Special

By Kay Mathews     Nov 5, 2012 in Politics
Savannah - Long lines and less time describe what in-person early voters in Chatham County, Georgia, and across America, are faced with in Election 2012.
WSAV3 noted on Oct. 29 that early voting was going strong and stated, "The line at the Chatham County Voter Registration Office on Eisenhower Drive wrapped around the building again Monday."
That trend continued through the last day of early voting in Georgia, Nov. 2. On Saturday, Nov. 3, the Savannah Morning News reported that "A total of 33,272 people voted early, 4,824 of them on Friday, the last day to do so."
Many of those 4,824 early voters could be seen at the Chatham County Voter Registration Office in Savannah, Ga. on the afternoon of Nov. 2. At that office, one of five early voting locations in Chatham County, a line of voters stretched from the entrance to around the corner of the building. Getting a parking space could be likened to a competitive event, and, yet, early voters continued to make their way to the back of the line.
Line of early voters at Chatham County Voter Registration Office.  Savannah  Ga.  Nov. 2  2012
Line of early voters at Chatham County Voter Registration Office. Savannah, Ga. Nov. 2, 2012
Chatham County has approximately 148,000 registered voters. "Some 47,419 voted early in 2008, but there were 45 days to vote early that year; there were only 21 this year," states the Savannah Morning News. By cutting the early voting days by more than half, at least 14,000 fewer early votes were cast.
Similarly, according to CNN, long lines awaited early voters in the states of Ohio and Florida.
In Florida, for example, when the early voting deadline passed and long lines were still present, the counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach "allowed voters to pick up, fill out and submit absentee ballots," according to CNN.
Additional examples of long lines come from the states of Indiana and Maryland. The Indianapolis Star reports of long early voting lines in Marion County, Indiana. Despite the addition of more voting machines, early voters in Prince George's County, Maryland experienced long lines, according to NBC.
 No Campaigning  sign at Chatham County Voter Registration Office.  Savannah  Ga.  Nov. 2  2012
"No Campaigning" sign at Chatham County Voter Registration Office. Savannah, Ga. Nov. 2, 2012
Florida is another state in which Republicans sought to reduce the number of early voting days. CNN reports that "State Republicans, led by Gov. Rick Scott, had pushed to cut the number of days available for early voting from 14 to eight. Democrats went to court to get that period extended, arguing the polling facilities in south Florida, a Democratic stronghold, weren't up to the demand."
In fact, with regard to cutting back on the number of early voting days and other voting rights battles, The New York Times states, "Since Republicans won control of many statehouses in the November 2010 elections, more than a dozen states have passed laws requiring voters to show photo identification at polls, cutting back early voting periods, imposing new restrictions on voter registration drives or redrawing electoral maps."
More about early voting, Election 2012, Geogia, voter id, chatham county
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