The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

November 2, 2012

Early voting begins here

ENID, Okla. — Judging by the lines of people waiting to get inside Friday, Garfield County Election Board was the hippest place in Enid.

People endured waits of up to an hour to cast early votes in Tuesday’s election.

Roy Schneider, election board secretary, said about 24 people already were standing in line at 8 a.m. when early voting began.

“I had people starting to line up an hour early,” Schneider said. “We had a couple dozen people waiting in line when we started at 8 and it’s been very steady.”

Voters first filled out an application for early voting. On that application, they fill in their name and birthdate, address and the where they are registered to vote. They also sign a promise not to go to their regular polling place on Tuesday. Then, they are given a ballot to cast their vote for president, U.S. representative, four Oklahoma Supreme Court justices, eight court of appeals judges and six state questions.

Indeed, 260 voters had completed the process and their ballots had been counted by 11 a.m.

Schneider said he was not surprised by the eager turnout.

“We only have presidential elections every four years, so I’d say it’s been very busy and I expected it to be very busy,” Schneider said.

Among the early voters were Jerry and Mary Epley.

“We came today to get out of the long line, but it was a long line here anyway,” Jerry Epley said.

Epley said it took them about 40 minutes for both to move through the lines and cast their votes. The Epleys often vote early, but Friday was the longest line he’d seen in any election yet.

Sheila Mills, chief clerk for the election board, said there were 11 voting booths, three of which were set up for disabled voters.

Steven Griffith, of Enid, said it was duty that brought him out to vote.

“We need to have the right people in the presidency to straighten up the economy and do more to straighten things up for our own people,” Griffith said.

Chad Watkins, of Enid, said he was angry about one thing on the ballot.

“This is the only state in the nation with only two choices for president,” Watkins said. “I’m angry.”

It’s not that he wanted to vote for someone whose name is not on the Oklahoma ballot, but he believes he deserves to have been given the opportunity, Watkins said.

Early voting will continue 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. The election board is located at 903 Failing.

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