Some early voters in Bibb County greeted by hourlong wait

Telegraph staffOctober 15, 2012 

People were lined up Monday morning in Bibb County, ready to cast their vote early at the board of election offices on Pio Nono Avenue.

Elaine Carr, the Macon-Bibb County supervisor of elections, said there were long lines at the elections office before noon, with some people waiting more than an hour in line to vote. Later in the day, the lines shortened a bit, with the wait being a comparatively short 30 to 45 minutes.

Carr said there was a similar turnout four years ago when advance voting began for the 2008 presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain.

“Four years ago, (the turnout) was as big as this,” she said. “I expect (the lines) to get even worse. ... But they haven’t been as long as I thought they’d be.”

In 2008, more than 29,000 people in Bibb County took part in early voting, accounting for nearly 44 percent of the 66,692 who turned out to vote in the election overall.

Most of the 1,056 people who showed up Monday didn’t seem too surprised or put out by the long wait.

“I saw (the lines) on Facebook,” said Jason Massengale, who was at the polls with his wife, Tiffany. “Someone posted a picture. I was hoping coming a little later in the day might save 10 or 15 minutes.”

Tiffany Massengale said she was glad to get voting out of the way, so that she could tune out the political rhetoric of this time of year.

“I can tune out all of the garbage that’s out there, because I know I’ll have already voted,” said Massengale, who said she was voting for Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The couple added that they also were very concerned with the Bibb County Board of Education race, and planned to vote for Lester Miller, who is vying for the District 4 seat against Democrat Dominique Johnson.

Treva Horton, who said she was voting for the entire Democratic ticket, said she always votes early to avoid long lines.

“I’m surprised by this,” said Horton, who added that she wanted to support Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart and State Sen. candidate David Lucas. “I’m surprised by (the lines). This is only the first day.”

Ronnie Miley, a member of the Bibb County Board of Elections, said officials were prepared for the big turnout. He said the board had hoped that the Bibb County commissioners would have approved extra funds to open up a second early-voting site, but that didn’t come to pass.

“For a city this size, this is one of the few with only one site,” Miley said. “Even Houston County has three sites.”

Carr said people who registered to vote last week may not have had their paperwork completed by the Secretary of State’s Office. She urged people to check the My Voter Page on the secretary of state’s website to make sure their registration has been processed before going to the office to vote.

To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.

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