Voters say election will be worth the wait (in line)
Patience, not politicking, could determine whether Barack Obama or John McCain becomes the next president.
More than 956,000 people are registered to vote in Allegheny County -- more than ever before -- and 75 percent are expected to cast ballots tomorrow.
"There will be lines," said Kevin Evanto, spokesman for Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. "But we want people to be patient."
Many voters said they will be.
"I'll wait in line for as long as it takes," said Shannon Lee, 24, of Oakland.
Her friend, Liz Rutherford, 26, of the South Side agreed. "This election is so important that I think anyone who's been paying attention will do whatever it takes to have their vote counted," she said.
The county already warned voters that lines likely will be longest between 7 and 9 a.m. and 5 and 8 p.m. and urged them to vote during off-peak hours.
Countywide, more people could vote in this presidential election than any since 1960. That year, almost 88 percent of the 866,000 registered voters in the county turned out for the election between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, said Mark Wolosik, county elections division manager.
Contractor Geoffrey Davis, 61, of East Liberty already told his boss he might be late for work.
"I'm lucky," Davis said. "A lot of people don't have that flexibility. In some communities, people are gonna wait a long time, and they're gonna be upset."
State law limits voters to three minutes at the voting machine, but the law is rarely enforced, Evanto said.
"There's a short ballot this year, so once people get to the machines, the voting will go quickly," he said.
Polls close at 8 p.m., but Evanto said anyone already in line at that time will have the opportunity to vote.
Anyone with problems voting can contact officials with the county elections division or other organizations that'll have representatives at most sites.
Among the groups are Election Protection, a national nonpartisan coalition whose goal is to ensure everyone eligible to vote can; Common Cause, a nonprofit promoting open government; and Black Political Empowerment Project, a local voting advocate association.
"We do not want anybody leaving the polling place for any reason without voting, including the length of the line," said Tim Stevens, empowerment project director. "We don't want to have this historic election abated by impatience."
An extra judge has been assigned at Common Pleas court to hear election-related cases, and the county hired 160 extra poll workers, Evanto said. At least one official who is trained to handle minor mechanical problems with the electronic voting machines will be at each polling place, Evanto said.
Statewide, more than 50,000 polling place workers, state officials, judges and election observers will be working to field problems from complaints of voter intimidation to malfunctioning voting machines.Additional Information:
Polling by the numbers
Polling by the numbers
All numbers are for Allegheny County unless noted.
1,321: polling places
404 : polling places in Pittsburgh
4,500: approximate number of election machines
956,114 : number of registered voters
866,000 : approximate number of registered voters in 1960
62,000 : approximate number of new registered voters since last November
412-350-4500 : Phone number for Allegheny County Elections Division
86 6-687-8683: Phone number for Election Protection
Hurry up and wait
About 75 percent of registered voters in Allegheny County -- 717,085 people -- are expected to vote tomorrow, according to Mark Wolosik, Allegheny County election division manager. That's 159 people per machine.
Polls are open 13 hours. That means there could be a steady stream of 14 people per machine per hour, giving each voter about 4 minutes to cast their ballots.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Vasquez to fight for title in Pittsburgh
- Monessen WWII vets due recognition
- Armstrong County Pasta maker takes his fruit-filled pierogi to Kennywood
- Alle-Kiski Valley native returns to roots for first novel, ‘Brutal Youth’
- Western Pennsylvania thrift shops accept many items — but not guns, skulls
- Report critical of VA’s handling of comp claims
- Drug court planned in Westmoreland County
- Daily Courier roundup: Connellsville Legion cruises past Smithfield
- St. Vincent’s $1M technology upgrade part of school’s 5-year-plan
- UPMC software eases physicians’ access to diverse patient records
- LaBar: Kurt Angle preparing for WWE return