A Greenwood woman who lives within walking distance of Rocklane Christian Church waited 2.5 hours Tuesday to cast her ballot at the vote center east of Greenwood.
Kathy Feldhake is outraged that so many people are losing the chance to vote in this election because of a widespread technology glitch with the voting system the county uses, she said. The long lines forced some people to leave vote centers before voting.
She’s retired, “thankfully,” she said. But so many people just left without casting a ballot because they had to get back to work.
“And they wonder why Johnson County has such low voter turnout. This is a perfect example,” Feldhake said. “It’s not the poll workers’ fault. They were sweet as can be. It’s the powers that be.”
County election at one point on Tuesday considered an emergency court order to extend voting hours past 6 p.m. in Johnson County due to the problems, but decided against the extension when the election equipment vendor had the problem repaired.
“There’s not a backup? Really? That’s what I don’t understand. There are no paper ballots now,” Feldhake said.
“In hindsight, like I told my husband, we should have (voted) earlier. My heart goes out to the people who are standing in line that long because they desperately want to vote and may not be able to.”
Zach Stevenson of Franklin waited in line for two hours this afternoon until he had to leave to go back to work.
When he came back to the Franklin Parks and Recreation Center, he was able to check-in, vote and leave in about 10 minutes.
Other voters reported similar wait times of 10 to 15 minutes about 4 p.m.
Andrew Littleton of Franklin said he was concerned for the people who couldn’t vote when the electronic poll books weren’t functioning.
“It makes you feel like you don’t have a voice,” he said.
Bill Jones, who was taking exit polls outside, was at the vote centers when voting came to a standstill.
Jones said a handful of people walked out without voting to either go to work or another vote center.
“A lot of us who knew what was going on said, ‘Hey, just so you know, this is county-wide,’” Jones said.
Lines at some sites as voting hours ended
With an hour left to vote, the line at Grace United Methodist Church was out the door and to the parking lot.
A Franklin family, Jeff, Kelsey and Brenda Souders, came to vote together.
Kelsey Souders said they waited almost an hour but said the lines looked the same length at the other locations they drove by.
“It just seemed like there were a lot of people everywhere,” she said.
Brenda Souders said their other daughter attempted to vote at two different locations this morning and during lunch, but turned back after two-hour wait times.
“She doesn’t know if she will be able to vote now,” Brenda Souders said. “She was frustrated. She was really trying.”
No technical issues were reported since this afternoon, but the long lines caused long waits. Campaigners outside the polling place told voters to go to the Franklin Parks and Recreation Center and Johnson Memorial Hospital where wait times are about 10 to 15 minutes.
Jeri-Lynn Elmore of Franklin said she didn’t mind her 45-minute wait because she got to vote.
“I’m a Trump supporter and the more Republicans we get into the House and the Senate, it facilitates him to do his job,” she said.