Despite Hassles, Early Voting Well Received

Across the country, more states than ever have allowed voting in advance of Election Day. Record numbers of voters in California are enthusiastically taking advantage of the opportunity to cast their ballots early.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And as the candidates wrap up their marathon campaigns, early voting is taking place on a wider scale than ever before. NPR's Carrie Kahn found that early voters are facing lines as long as the ones you might expect on Election Day.

CARRIE KAHN: I'm in Los Angeles, California, one of the bluest of blue states. Democrats hold a substantial registration advantage here, and polls show Barack Obama with a double-digit lead. But from the length of the line yesterday circling the county's one early voting station, you'd think this was Ohio or Florida.

Ms. GRACE LOPEZ(ph): It's like, oh, this is crazy. It's kind of exciting.

KAHN: This was Grace Lopez's first time voting. She's 18. She had only waited one hour. Dan Martinez(ph) had three under his belt, but was equally awestruck by the thousands in line.

Mr. DAN MARTINEZ: I came on Friday, Halloween, and the line was three hours. I drove by yesterday, the line was about five hours. And today I just got up early and said whatever it is, it's going to be. And I want to be part of history.

KAHN: Support in line was overwhelming for Obama, but Donna and Dean Anderson(ph) said they wanted their voice heard too.

Ms. DONNA ANDERSON: Some of the polls on the news programs and everything have already written off John McCain. And I just think it's important for people to express their own opinion and express their own vote and not listen to that.

Mr. DEAN ANDERSON: You know, at least we can say we did our part.

Unidentified Woman: 924, 642...

KAHN: It took five hours before Derrick Brown's(ph) number to vote came up.

Mr. DERRICK BROWN: I made it. I've made it. I've made it safe and sound.

KAHN: Was it worth it?

Mr. BROWN: Oh, yeah, most definitely.

KAHN: Brown says he's anxious to get home and not be in a line anymore.

Mr. BROWN: I'm going to try to stay - lay low until Tuesday. You know, anything can happen. But yeah, this is definitely history though. And I'm proud to be a part of it too.

KAHN: The Los Angeles registrar put out a plea to voters to cast their ballots after 9 a.m. or before 4 p.m. Election Day to hopefully avoid long lines. Carrie Kahn, NPR News.

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