Snapshots of voter turnout across the U.S. : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Snapshots of voter turnout across the U.S.

November 7, 2000

Web posted at: 1:41 p.m. EST (1841 GMT)


(CNN) -- While some polling places were busy as voting began today, it's too soon to predict whether the 2000 election will reverse a decades-long trend of declining turnout. Here are some Election Day peeks at precincts around the country.

Turnout was high when Terry and Molly McHugh, a suburban Chicago couple, cast their votes Tuesday morning. "Our polling place was packed," they told CNN in an e-mail from Homewood, Illinois. "I have never, in the seven years that I have voted in this location, ever seen turnout so high," said Terry McHugh, a teacher.

In New York City, an election official said early turnout was running from moderate to heavy. Some voters had to wait at least 40 minutes to cast ballots. Voters cast their ballots in the gymnasium of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Beverly Hills, Michigan

In one Atlanta, Georgia, neighborhood, some voters waited an hour and 20 minutes to cast their ballots, standing in lines that stretched out the door of their polling place. Surprised by the overflow, some voters left, saying they would return after lines had thinned. Officials said they had never seen such a high voter turnout.

Some polling places in Alabama say long-overdue rain hasn't discouraged voters, who turned out early to cast their ballots. At a polling place in Crenshaw County, one worker says they're "as busy as they can be."

In Wisconsin, an election official says there are lines at every polling place in the capital of Madison.

In North Carolina, a precinct worker in Winston-Salem said she hasn't seen such high turnout in more than two decades.

Bad weather is giving poll workers in New Mexico some problems. Roads in Lincoln County are snowpacked, while two precincts opened up without power.

North Dakota voters are going out in heavy snow and icy road conditions to get to the polls.

Missouri officials predict a record 67 percent of eligible voters could cast ballots. Long lines at polling stations are bolstering the prediction.

In Oregon, the only state with an all-mail ballot, the effort to increase turnout seemed to be working. Secretary of State Bill Bradbury predicted 84 percent of registered voters would cast ballots by Tuesday night.

In the New Hampshire mountain hamlets of Hart's Location and Dixville Notch, all but two of the 60 registered voters got their traditional jump on the nation by scurrying in to vote just after midnight. Their verdict: George W. Bush outpolled Al Gore 38 to 18. There was one vote each for Green Party nominee Ralph Nader and Jeffrey Peters, a perennial presidential candidate from nearby Jackson, New Hampshire.

Heavy or light turnout still up in the air

Roughly 49 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in 1996, the lowest turnout since 1924. Despite signs of enthusiasm today, voter turnout analyst Curtis Gans told CNN he doesn't expect a significant difference this year, although some competitive states may see an increase.

"I wouldn't be shocked if turnout went up 2 percentage points," said Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, a Washington-based, nonpartisan group that examines citizen engagement in politics.

But, he quickly added, "I wouldn't be shocked if it went down 2 percentage points. Nobody really knows."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), November 07, 2000

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