Less enthusiasm for early voting this time around?

8:52 PM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Less enthusiasm for early voting than in 2008?

  • Nearly empty early voting machines at Fulton County's main precinct
  • Early voting line at Clayton County's main precinct.
  • Empty special early voting area at main Fulton County precinct
  • Early voting line at North Fulton County Government Annex precinct

ATLANTA -- Four years ago, early voting lines stretched completely around buildings at many metro area voting precincts.

Some voters waited in line more than 5 hours.

But that kind of enthusiasm was not apparent as early voting began Monday for this year's November 6th General Election.

In 2008 the early voting line snaked down hallways and out the front door at the main Fulton County Government Center in downtown Atlanta.

Far from it this time.

This year there was no line and no waiting.

Even a large waiting area set up with dozens of folding chairs was empty.

There was a line at the North Fulton County Government Complex in heavily Republican Sandy Springs.

While that line ran between 1 and 2 hours long, it was still much shorter than in 2008, according to one voter making a return visit.

"In 2008 the line I was in was longer," Grenetta McKinstry told 11 Alive News on Monday.

"It snaked, you know, all the way around the building," she added.

There was also a long line outside the main early voting precinct at heavily Democratic Clayton County's old courthouse in Jonesboro.

But election officials there say it was only 30 minutes long compared to 2 or 3 hours in 2008.

Some attribute this year's shorter waits to longer earlier voting hours, including some Saturdays.

Others suggest it could signal a drop off in enthusiasm, especially among Democrats.

Last week an NBC poll found an enthusiasm gap, with 79% of Republicans "extremely interested" in the election, compared to 73% of Democrats surveyed.

Democrats had a 13 point lead in a similar 2008 poll.

Yet we found voters who still sense enthusiasm on both sides.

"I'm seeing more yard signs, Republican; I'm seeing more car signs, Republican, so, yeah, I see there is quite a lot of difference," said North Fulton County voter Michael Solomon.

"It think there's just as much enthusiasm and I think even more so," said Grenetta McKinstry.

Early voting lasts through November 2nd.

Voters can vote in person or request a ballot by mail.

To find an early voting location and hours in your county click here.

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