CELESTE HEADLEE: I'm Celeste Headlee in Lake County, Indiana. When polls opened this morning at Brunswick Elementary School in Gary, there were already more than 100 people waiting in line to vote.
Ms. PATRICIA TATUM: I want to vote. Got to vote.
HEADLEE: So you're making sure you're first in line? Is that what...
Ms. TATUM: I don't have to be first. Just make sure I vote.
HEADLEE: That's Patricia Tatum, who arrived before sunrise. Elections officials in Lake County held up results for hours during the primary. They said they weren't prepared for the high voter turnout, and 40 percent of the electronic machines didn't properly tally ballots. But no one seems to be concerned that workers won't be able to handle the turnout this time. Melanie Brown (ph) says her state is ready.
Ms. MELANIE BROWN: Indiana could handle their business. You know, we might slack with some things, but we can handle the crowd and handle the election polls and all that. So I'm not concerned at all.
HEADLEE: It's not concern over problems that has brought these people out so early. It's a fierce determination to vote without any delay.
Ms. SHARON BUCKINGHAM: This is the first time after 30-some years. This is the first time I think we ever got up this early to come vote.
HEADLEE: Sharon Buckingham (ph) says all of her family and friends are bound and determined to cast their vote today.
Ms. BUCKINGHAM: Oh, yes. Everyone.
HEADLEE: No matter how long the lines are?
Ms. BUCKINGHAM: No matter how long the lines are. Everybody's planning on voting.
HEADLEE: In fact, hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers waited for up to seven hours to cast votes before election day during the early voting period. Frances Mew (ph) says, if voters waited then, they'll wait now.
Ms. FRANCES MEW: My daughter stood in line for four hours Sunday after she had worked about eight hours. It's just an important time in our lives.
HEADLEE: 18-year-old Tim Tatum is near the front of the line.
Mr. TIM TATUM: Vote or die, like P. Diddy says so.
HEADLEE: Tatum is voting for the first time, and he seems overwhelmed.
Mr. TATUM: Yes. It's exciting. Like, I'm surprised right now. I'm kind of speechless right now, so...
HEADLEE: When the pollworkers arrive, they have to shoulder their way through the crowd to get inside. Andrew Batiste (ph) gets to work using yellow nylon rope and folding chairs to mark the line outside the school. He says he's shocked at the size of the crowd.
Mr. ANDREW BATISTE (Poll Worker, Lake County, Indiana): No. No. This is very unusual.
HEADLEE: Do you think people - I mean, if the lines get longer, that people are going to turn around and go home?
Mr. BATISTE: No. No. They're going to wait. That's why some of them come early, trying to beat the other people who thinking they coming early.
(Soundbite of laughter)
HEADLEE: I asked voters if they were concerned about problems at polling stations and that this might end up as a contested election. Kenneth Parker (ph) says no way.
Mr. KENNETH PARKER: They can't let that happen again. It'll look too bad for the country. So then they're trying to keep it straight, you know, this time.
HEADLEE: Ann Cheatham (ph) and Lambert Jackson (ph) say no one is leaving this line.
Ms. ANN CHEATHAM: Not this time. We're making history today. We'll be here.
Mr. LAMBERT JACKSON: I ain't going home. And I ain't going to let these people go home. If I've got to go buy some coffee, it don't even matter.
HEADLEE: For NPR News, I'm Celeste Headlee in Gary, Indiana.
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