It’s entirely unscientific, but a poll of the dozen or so 5280 staffers who voted today shows that turnout throughout the Denver metro area is every bit as heavy as expected.
Both in the city and suburbs, lines ranging from 45 minutes to more than two hours were not uncommon. Our worst horror story came from a precinct in the Stapleton neighborhood:
Toes still cold.
I voted this morning at Westerly Creek Elementary. I waited in line for about two-and-a-half hours. OUT-FREAKING-SIDE! It was just about the time that I reached the school’s front doors that the Einsteins working the polls decided that they should let people wait inside the building. People were not pleased. I saw a few leave.
I also overheard a couple of older ladies saying that they have never experienced lines like this in all their years of voting.
In Aurora, the lines were nearly as long, but, mercifully, indoors.
I voted at Grandview High School in Aurora. [My fiance] had gotten there before me, around 7 a.m. and called to say that the line was two hours long and he was going back this afternoon to try again. So I got a coffee for the wait and headed over to the school around 7:30 a.m. My precinct was in the auditorium. I was directed to the back of the line at the very top of the stairs in the last row of seats. The line snaked through about 10 rows. Everyone was, surprisingly, in good spirits and seemed very patient. There were four booths there but only two were working.
I only had my passport and proof of voter registration, but I had no problem being allowed to vote. The most surprising part of the experience today was that the only buttons I saw were Kerry buttons, and all of the conversations I overheard around me sounded pro-Kerry/pro-Democrat. The guy next to me who appeared to be in his mid-twenties said it was his first time ever to vote, but that he felt he had to do something about Bush. I was there for two-and-a-half hours, and it was worth every minute.
That was the only precinct in the traditionally Republican suburbs where our staffers heard overwhelmingly pro-Kerry discussions:
There were two precincts at the Westridge Elementary in the Littleton neighborhood where I voted. I arrived at 7:15 a.m and cast my vote at 8:50. I’d guess there were 100-125 people in line in front of me when I arrived. You could sense the importance of this election as there was a lot of open discussion about voters wanting change, disliking the Iraq war, and general Kerry support. Very surprising for me having never experienced a presidential election where a hall full of people were are all chatting about the same, usually very private, issues.
I asked the principal of the school how busy the poll had been and she arrived at 6 a.m. to open the doors and said there were 15-20 people waiting in 22 degree temps!