As Election Day approaches, record numbers of San Diegans are turning up to vote early.
The line at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa was wrapped around the building all day on Friday. Voters are expected to wait at least two hours before getting to place their votes.
This year’s race has already pulled in 80 percent of registered voters, whereas only about 50 percent turned out in past years. To put it in other words, about 1,000 voters have turned up each day this week, as opposed to the 500 or 600 that showed up each day in prior elections.
The crowd may be a bit overwhelming, but spirits are high.
Local voter Randy Hanson said with a laugh, “I thought I was gonna come down here and walk right in, but it's been fun. We're having a good time.”
There haven’t been any reported problems around the polls, just excited citizens waiting to make their mark on history.
Voters are turning out early for a variety of reasons. As voter Mark Robson shared, “I mailed [the ballot request] in time, but I don't have it and I'm leaving to go out of town Monday, so that's why I’m here."
There are others, like Mark, that are voting because they’ll be out of town on Nov. 4 and still others want to avoid the even bigger crowds on Election Day, and some are just too excited to wait.
Voter David Fontaine just turned 18 and is voting for the first time because it means something particularly important for him.
“I am a very strong supporter of our troops in Iraq and the war going on, and I believe if we can do anything to help that out [and] get them back here we might as well do it," he said.
For those of you planning on heading to the polls before Election Day, here are a few tips to keep in mind: make sure to go straight to your assigned precinct to save on time and confusion, read up on the candidates and ballot questions ahead of time so you’re ready to make your decisions, and, of course, be prepared for a line. The Registrar of Voters Office will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for early voting.