PENDLETON — The line of people waiting to vote at the Pendleton Community Library snaked through and around portions of the parking lot on Monday.
The Pendleton and Elwood satellite voting centers started early voting Monday and will continue for the rest of the week from noon to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Voters in Pendleton were experiencing a wait time of 90 minutes or more before being able to cast their ballots.
Madison County Clerk Olivia Pratt said the turnout was much higher than she expected on the first day.
“We have a pretty good operation, working on getting another machine out here,” she said. “We have three machines, but could use four.
“I figured we would have a good turnout,” Pratt said. “I know people were excited about the satellite centers. I didn’t expect the line to loop around the parking lot.”
Pratt said any registered voter in Madison County can vote at the satellite centers or the courthouse.
Deborah Harless, Pendleton, said she was not surprised at the length of the line and was voting early for the first time.
“Basically, because of the work schedule, and decided to come out today,” she said as her reason for voting early.
Harless said a lot of issues were taken into consideration in determining who to vote for.
Dean Forney of Adams Township had been waiting for 50 minutes and still had a considerable wait time ahead.
“This is the first time voting early,” he said. “I expect a big turnout on Election Day and the weather may be worse. I decided to get it out of the way.”
Forney said he knew which candidates he would be casting a ballot for.
“I would like to see us be civil again,” he said. “I think there is a lot of division in the country, see us work to overcome the division and become a unified society again.”
Forney said the coronavirus pandemic was one of many issues that helped him decide how to vote.
Macey Hinshaw, Pendleton, was also voting early for the first time.
“Just the whole COVID stuff going on,” she said. “I expected a line, but not this long.”
Hinshaw said it was hard this year determining which candidates to support.
“The coronavirus is scary,” she said.
Hinshaw said she didn’t think the federal and state governments have dealt with the virus very well.
“It doesn’t make me feel very comfortable,” she said. “I wear a mask all the time thinking of my grandparents and parents.”
After waiting more than 90 minutes, Pendleton resident Dave King was close to entering the library to cast his ballot. It was his first time voting early, hoping to speed up the process.
“I was hoping for a shorter line,” he said.
King said he likes the way President Donald Trump handles situations, working to get things done. He thinks Trump has handled the novel coronavirus pretty well.
“There’s not a lot he can do,” King said.