I basically live across the street from Brook Run Park in DeKalb County where the early voting is taking place and I have driven through the park several times to check out the line to see if it was short enough for me to vote.
Tuesday morning at 8 am there were about 130 people visible in line, with more crammed inside the building (it was cold) and someone who was exiting said that it took them about 55 minutes to get through. Since I hadn't planned on voting that day, nor being late for work, I decided that I would try again another day. On the way out, I saw Tom Stubbs, a Candidate for the DeKalb Superior Court, whom I have talked to a number of times at the Dunwoody Homeowners Association monthly meetings; standing at the entrance of the park on North Peachtree Road waving to the cars. Since I was stopped in the Brook Run traffic jam trying to get out of the park, we had a little chat through my open window and I wished him well.
I drove through on Wednesday and the line to vote was three times longer than Tuesday, backing all the way back to the theater. Traffic inside the park was rough with cars parked everywhere yet there was no traffic control nor police presence to be found. Entering the park just to see how bad it was gave me another opportunity to wave to Tom Stubbs who was still waving at cars in the bitter cold.
This morning around 8:30 I swung through hoping to vote but knew I made a mistake as soon as I entered. There was already a stack of cars trying to exit the park, back into the rush hour traffic on North Peachtree Road. The park was again a madhouse without any traffic control and the back exit of the park remained closed off to house DeKalb County's heavy park vehicles. On my way out I asked Tom where the police were and he stated that there has already been one bad accident and many near misses on North Peachtree; but no DeKalb County police to direct the traffic.
Well with the lines getting longer with every visit, I decided to leave work a little early with the intention of casting my vote at Brook Run. I found a parking spot behind the theater and I entered the line at 4:50 pm. Of course it goes without saying that I entered the longest line that I have seen all week. The line snaked back to the theater, around back to the street and then halfway up the sidewalk towards the skate park. I should have brought a book (or the alcohol ordinance) to read but didn't and I then did what many others seemed to be doing around me, I checked e-mails on the blackberry, talked on the phone, made a little small talk and eavesdropped on the conversations of those around me. My wife Kristin had pizza for the boys for dinner and would you believe that she delivered me dinner in line. That was pretty cool since I had a meeting to attend at 7 pm and dinner at home wasn't going to happen.
About an hour in, I saw a neighbor who was in the line doubling back from where I was an hour ago and he asked how the city was going. We chatted for a while talking about city business yet we moved in different directions thereby ending the conversation. After he was gone the people who had been my "line neighbors" were very interested in talking to me since they now heard that I was on the Dunwoody City Council. We then talked about Dunwoody; it helped us pass the time in a constructive educational manor for all involved.
I finally got inside the building after an almost two hour wait and was handed a form to complete. I asked the nice lady in charge of the forms if this was the line to register to vote and my crude attempt at humor just didn't register with her after the long day. My form was verified, id was checked and there were 17 voting machines in the room. I asked the election official who was keying in my information what number voter I was of the day and she said that with several computer terminals running she couldn't tabulate it, but the Brook Run location was averaging 2,250 voters per day. It was finally my turn to take a booth and I was done 60 seconds later at exactly 6:40 pm. It took just under two hours to cast my vote and upon leaving I was finally glad to see that Candidate Tom Stubbs was no longer waving to the entering cars that had now slowed because of the impending cutoff time.
Since I will not be visiting Brook Run on Friday, please do me a favor. If you see Tom Stubbs out there waving his sign at the entrance, please wave back or toot the horn letting him know that I won't be stopping by. Thanks.