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Voters in Cape wait … and wait

By Staff | Nov 7, 2012

Ron Giermann, a resident in Precinct 96, had finally reached the polling place Tuesday after waiting three hours in line to vote. He had a hard time concealing his frustration.

“We need scanners and (Gov.) Scott,” Giermann said as he was about to enter the Cape Coral Association of Realtors building, where the polls were. “He keeps disenfranchising the voters.”

Giermann had a relatively short wait compared to others in the Cape. Some waited as long as six hours to vote, and had to watch in frustration as precincts next to them were getting in and out.

According to reports, some got in line before the 7 p.m. deadline, but had to wait until 11 p.m. or later to cast their ballots.

Within three precincts within a city block of each other, between Southeast 46th and Southeast 47th streets, there ran a gamut of efficiency, from hours in line to walking in and out.

There were reports of scanners breaking down and jamming, making the wait even longer.

Sharon Harrington, Lee County supervisor of elections, was unavailable for comment.

Voters dealt with the elements and stood around as the lines slowly snaked their way toward the polls. It helped to have a sense of humor.

For Precinct 94 voter Jim Bowen, that’s what allowed him to keep his sanity as he waited four hours outside the Vineyard Community Church, where Precinct 97 voters also voted.

“Lots of good talk and a lot of laughing,” Bowen said as several would-be voters laughed alongside him. “We’re very energized to get out. We’re just suppressing our anger. It doesn’t do any good to get angry.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the church, Precinct 97 voters had almost no wait as they walked in and out and went home, glad they didn’t vote early.

“You don’t want to tell anyone you waited 10 minutes around here,” another precinct 94 voter said, to more laughter.

Patrick Kelly, who voted with his daughter, Katie, said he’d never experienced such a wait after five hours in line before casting a ballot.

“I’m ticked off. Sharon Harrington will not get my vote,” Kelly said. “They suppress the vote. That’s why they have all the amendments. To draw things out and make people leave.”

“It’s wasn’t fun, my first time waiting,” Katie said. “I felt a lot of people missed out because they left or couldn’t handle it.”

“They had one scanner. They just brought in another scanner. I don’t know where it came from. Did they just not want to bring it over?” Patrick said.

Across the parking lot, in precinct 96, Linda Bristow was serving her second stint in line, leaving after 90 minutes when it started raining during lunchtime.

Her second 90-minute wait wasn’t much fun either, especially in her first time voting in Cape Coral.

“I can’t vote in Massachusetts anymore, darn. This is a mess,” Bristow said.

“I’ve waited her twice. Have another 90 minutes to wait, I think. I’m trying to exercise my right to vote and it’s torture.”

At the District 93 polling place at the Jewish Center, Wayne Follansbee came prepared. He brought his daughter, Brittany Bishop, and his chair and patiently prepared to wait late into the night.

“That’s OK with me. It’s my duty to cast my vote,” Follansbee said. “I haven’t been here long enough to be frustrated. Ask me again at 11 o’clock.”