Long Lines Snake Around Hamilton County Polling Places As Early Voting Starts

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Lines at the Brainerd Recreation Center
Lines at the Brainerd Recreation Center

Long lines snaked around early voting sites in Hamilton County as presidential balloting got underway on Wednesday.

The lines were so long at the Brainerd Recreation Center that former Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said he had a lengthy wait.

He said, "They have had months to prepare for a presidential election and they only have five voting machines here and at the election office. People are turning away and going home. The elderly can't wait in line this long."

Sandy Lusk said she also encountered long lines at Brainerd. She said, "It took us 50 minutes for only four things on our ballot."

Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said, "There have been long lines at all four early voting locations throughout the day, but especially at the Election Commission office.    In reality we have equipped each location with additional staff and machines enabling us to more efficiently process voters. 

"As of 4:15 p.m., 4,019 voters have cast a ballot -  Brainerd Recreation Center: 810, Eastwood Church: 769, Northgate: 891, and Election Commission: 1,549.

"To help reduce wait times voters need to have their state or federal photo id in hand."

Jennifer Walker said she went to the election office and learned at the end of the process that she had been handed the wrong ballot.

She said, "When I was putting my stub into the box I noticed that it said Tyner. I am from Soddy Daisy and I was wanting to vote for the commission race and the wine issue. None of those were on the ballot.

"I wonder how many other people got the wrong ballot."

Election officials said they could not verify that anyone had been given a wrong ballot.


Busy parking lot
Busy parking lot

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