BOISE -– Early voting wrapped up Friday evening in Ada County with a record number of voters turning out, officials said.
Hundreds of people waited in line for more than an hour Friday at the Ada County Elections Office.
Elections officials say nearly two thousand people cast votes Friday, bringing the total to 19,723 early voters in Ada County. That broke the previous record for early voting, set during the 2008 presidential election, by about four thousand votes.
“The turnout today was amazing," said Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane. "Our staff puts in so much time and effort to make this possible that it’s extremely rewarding to see people turnout in such large numbers.”
Kendell Nielsen had never voted early until Friday. He has to work on election day and wanted to be sure to get the chance to vote. The education reform laws (Propositions 1, 2, and 3) brought him to the polls.
"It's our duty as citizens of the United States I think," he said.
At 5 p.m., workers cut off the line but didn't close their doors until everyone in line got to vote. Folks like Evangelina Bowman said it was worth it.
"This is a very important election for me. I believe that we're in the crossroads, we're teeter tottering whether we get good representation or not. So I want to make sure my vote is here and it counts," said Bowman.
Even though she was near the end, Bowman was encouraged by the long line.
"It makes me feel good that people are actually taking action to use their voting rights," she said.
Election workers are glad, too.
"You don't want to see people wait in line, but in terms of the process its rewarding to see your work mean so much to people, and to see so many people come out and vote," said McGrane.
Elections officials hope that the record early voter turnout will help alleviate some of the lines at the polls on election day. Still, McGrane expects long lines and high turnout on election day.
"I think we've seen the process throughout early voting be busy every single say. My expectations is you're going to see the exact same thing on election day," he said.
Even though people waited for hours, McGrane said it only took voters about six minutes to cast their ballots.