Long lines across the metro for first day of early voting

Local

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was a big day for counties all across the state as early voting started in Oklahoma.

“I knew it was gonna be a lot, but I didn’t think it was gonna be like it is,” said Pat Washington, who early voted.

Long lines wrapped around the Oklahoma County Election Board on Thursday morning, and down the street, even farther. The handicapped car line stretched down Lincoln all the way to Interstate 44.

“Get here early, be prepared to wait and just have patience. There were a lot of people that left the line so that was kind of disheartening,” said William McCaine, who got to the election board at 7:30 a.m.

“You gotta deal with COVID. You gotta deal with no electricity. And then you have to deal with the line,” said Diane Simpson, who voted with her husband, John.

Oklahoma County has two early voter locations, one at the County Election Board and the other at Edmond Church of Christ. 

“We did it on geographics basically. We are here on 4201 N. Lincoln. And if you go straight south to the county line, it’s an equal distance south to the county line from the Edmond site going north. So they’re geographically positioned as best we can within the county,” said Doug Sanderson, Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary.

Long lines were seen in Edmond as well.

And in Cleveland County, the same. Lines were going back and forth inside the fairgrounds and wrapping around outside.

Voters said the turnout for early voting appears to be more than past elections, but some are concerned about voting by mail or the wait being longer on election day. 

“I have voted by mail before and I didn’t want to this time. I just wanted to be sure that my vote got counted,” said Beverly Caviness, who voted with a longtime friend.

“My poll has a very small place and I didn’t want to risk standing outside more than I did today,” said early voter Dennis Martin.

The wait on Thursday morning was around an hour and a half for those not in the handicapped line. Some voters even accidentally got in the wrong lines and had to move.

“You need a sign when you just come in,” said Vicki Bryat, who voted with Caviness.

“We were in line in the car for about an hour-and-a-half, and now we’ve been in this line for about 45 minutes,” Caviness said.

But overall, voters say the wait was worth it.

“I’m very excited. Everybody has a voice,” Washington said.

“Yes your vote does count. Every vote counts. Every vote is important,” said Aquilla Butler, who voted with Washington. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote.”

Early voting starts back up again on Friday at 8 a.m. Now if you’re just dropping off an absentee ballot, you don’t have to wait in either of the lines, just walk into the election board office and hand it in.

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