The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:32 pm

Early voting busier than expected

Dave Gong|The Journal Gazette

The first day of early voting at four satellite locations went better than the Allen County Election Board expected.

Within the first two hours of opening, 80 people had voted at the Georgetown branch of the Allen County Public Library and voters were spending at least 35 minutes in line waiting to vote. The long wait time prompted the election board to send another voting machine and an extra poll worker to Georgetown to alleviate the congestion. 

"I did not expect to have long waits, especially on a rainy morning. We're really excited," Beth Dlug, Allen County director of elections, said. "I guess we really didn't know what to expect since this is the first time."

Dlug said the election board originally estimated the four new locations would each see between 75 and 100 voters on Wednesday. Early voting is available at the Aboite, Dupont, Hessen Cassel and Georgetown branches of the Allen County Public Library.

"We would have been happy with that result, especially for the first day," she said.

Instead, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, all four library branches served a combined total of 965 voters, which Dlug said far exceeded her expectations. Early voting in the Rousseau Centre downtown saw about 150 voters by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The 2015 municipal election is the first time the election board has rolled out early voting at satellite locations around Fort Wayne, in preparation for the 2016 presidential election. The plan is to test new technology and new procedures during a smaller election when problems can be addressed more easily. 

Early voting at the four library branches will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Early voting at the Rousseau Centre is also available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and Friday, as well as from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The final day to vote early in person is from 8 a.m. to noon Monday.

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