SAN DIEGO, CA. Lines of early voters are causing an hour and half wait as crowds jam the County Registrar of Voters on Ruffin Road. This is unprecedented in the history of recent San Diego elections – unprecedented for so many voters to vote so early and in such massive numbers. This is true of any recent election and possibly is true for anything held within decades. Several Registrar workers confirmed this for me.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that early votes and absentee votes have amounted to more than 18.5 million, based on reports gathered over the past week. Millions of additional early votes are expected to be added over the next few days. In comparison, the absentee/early vote total for the 2004 election was 24.6 million.
The line begins at the front door, runs down the building along the shaded patio and into the causeway. A very unusual sight it turns out. I asked several temporary workers at the Office who were on their breaks, and they informed me that the lines form around 9:30 in the morning and last all day. It has been like this all week, several said.
I spoke to David Morton, who claimed he was just a clerk, but who was authorized to speak to the media. He sat me down at a desk inside the Office and gave me a copy of the important dates and time changes. He said voting has been “phenomenal” but he assured me that the Registrar was indeed prepared for it. He confirmed that the lines have been long all week. He’s the one who every now and then traverses the line looking for voters who already have voted and just need to drop off their ballots. But he had not seen such lines in the 5 years that he’s worked there.
Usually the Registrar is open from 8 to 5 and on this Saturday and Sunday, it will also be open those hours – 8 to 5. Election day it will be open at 7am.
I asked several people why they were voting early, and most either were going out of town election day, had to work all day long that day, or were even moving and wanted to vote here. No one seemed disgruntled to have to wait so long. It was like waiting in line at a movie. Only better because when you walk out here you still don’t know what happened, so it’s like a serial with still a lot of anticipation and tension. Of course, it’s better than a series. Better than a movie. This is our real life! This is what democracy looks like.