The Early Bird Special
With less than a week before Election Day, people are early voting or voting by mail to avoid the crowds and possible chaos and confusion due to the predicted record number of voters projected to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
As of Oct. 27, over four million people in Los Angeles County are registered to vote, according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Following the numbers of ballots cast in person during the 2008 Presidential Primary in February, L.A. County can expect more than two million voters to cast their ballots in person if not more. And only 18 percent voted by mail in February.
Anticipating long lines at the polling places, not being able to get off of work to vote, and going out of town on Election Day are many of the reasons given for early voting on Saturday, Oct. 25. It was the first weekend for early voting in Los Angeles County. Surprisingly, there is only one location to early vote and it's at the L.A. Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk building in Norwalk, Calif. The last day to apply to receive a ballot by mail was Oct. 28, so early voting is the only other option until Election Day. The last day to early vote is Sunday, Nov. 2.
Early voters didn't wait long to cast their ballots if they arrived before noon. In the afternoon, some waited in line for nearly forty-five minutes just to enter the building. The irony was not lost on Sheigh Crabtree of Silverlake. She said the process took a long time, but she came today because she wanted to volunteer on Election Day. In addition to the long wait in line, there is another 10-15 minute wait for your ballot when inside. Gwendolyn Doucet of Inglewood came prepared with a folding chair while she waited. She also came to early vote to avoid being "stuck in line on Election Day."
On Saturday alone over 1,000 ballots were cast in Norwalk and those numbers are expected to rise as Election Day nears. According to CNN.com, as of Monday, 30 states are allowing voters to vote in person early, and election officials are reporting record turnouts.
Over the weekend Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama was in Denver, Colo. encouraging his supporters to early vote. "How many people have early voted? No point waiting in lines if you don't have to. You know who you're going to vote for. Go to the polls."