Early voting off to a roaring start in Gwinnett


Deno Stephens is a character. 

The 65-year-old cop and Marine veteran gave a reporter her "phone number" Monday morning as she waited in line at the Gwinnett County elections office. She boasted about her flowing blonde locks and sinewy 5-foot-6 frame (she has neither), and took input from friends before describing her "measurements" in further detail.

Then she got serious. 

Susan B. Anthony was beaten and bloodied for her right, as a woman, to vote, Stephens said. And the "current mayhem" in presidential politics drove her to show up Monday, Georgia's first day of early voting.

"It's time for a female," the Snellville resident said, "and Trump's a damn bully."

RELATED: Where (and when) to vote early in Gwinnett County

By the time Gwinnett County's Lawrenceville elections office opened for voting at 8 a.m. Monday, well over 100 people had joined the queue outside. By 8:30 a.m., the crowd had eclipsed 400, elections director Lynn Ledford estimated.

The quiet, murmuring mass of soon-to-be voters snaked deep into the parking lot.

"We were expecting a crowd," Ledford said, "but we were not expecting this."

While there are also a handful of high-interest local races on the ballot, including Gov. Nathan Deal's Opportunity School District and two Gwinnett County commission seats, folks like Stephens showed up to go ahead and cast their vote in the contentious presidential race pitting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump.

RELATED: What's on the ballot on Nov. 8 in Georgia?

RELATED: Check out The AJC's voters guide

RELATED: How to early vote in Georgia

 

Trump supporter Raymond Miller, a Lawrenceville resident, said he'd made his mind up so there was no point in waiting.

When asked why he chose Trump, Miller said, "the values that the Republicans actually stand for, conservatism, and making our country great again, and not giving everything away."

Many voters asked Monday morning, however, balked at revealing their presidential choices and said they had just hoped to avoid the lines on Nov. 8 — a mission that ended up being somewhat ill-fated.

Buddy Brownlee of Grayson and Ed Palisoc of Norcross showed up around 7:30 a.m. Monday. An hour later, they were still waiting.

"I just wanted to get it over with because I was going out of town," Brownlee said. "I'm very surprised [by the crowd]."

Said Palisoc: "It's nice to see everyone pretty congenial too. I guess that's the reality of what's going on — not everyone's overly contentious like it seems."

RELATED: 7 things to know about Gov. Nathan Deal's Opportunity School District

RELATED: Georgia voters could decide to alter the state’s constitution this fall

Early voting continues at the Gwinnett County elections office, located at 455 Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville, until Nov. 4. Hours are as follows:

Oct. 17-22: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Oct. 24-28: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Oct. 29: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 31-Nov. 4: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Seven satellite locations for early voting open on Oct. 29 and through the week of Halloween. Find more information about those locations and hours by clicking here.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Atlanta mayoral, council prez hopefuls connect to voters with new ads
Atlanta mayoral, council prez hopefuls connect to voters with new ads

Candidates for Atlanta City Hall are using the Internet to promote their campaigns through increasing numbers of video ads. City Council President candidate Alex Wan has released a new spot that shows his less-buttoned up side. Wan, an Atlanta City Councilman and director of libraries at Emory University, raises chickens and bees, an activity he says...
Rapper from ‘intolerable’ show at DeKalb middle school heads to prison
Rapper from ‘intolerable’ show at DeKalb middle school heads to prison

One of the rappers who performed what school officials called an “intolerable” concert at a DeKalb County middle school dance is headed to prison. Drugrixh Hect, whose real name is Dalemonte Stilley, pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault with intent to rob and robbery, officials said. The pleas stem from a November 2015 incident...
Kennesaw State football stadium to open earlier, have metal detectors
Kennesaw State football stadium to open earlier, have metal detectors

Kennesaw State University seems to have learned something about their new football fans: They don’t love waiting in lines. The school announced Tuesday that it’s making some changes to the way folks will get into Fifth Third Bank Stadium, including metal detectors and early gate opening times. Interim athletics director Matt...
Man accused of impersonating cop turns out to be federal officer 
Man accused of impersonating cop turns out to be federal officer 

Aside from the blue light mounted in his unmarked SUV and the weapon on his hip, a man recorded during a traffic stop didn’t look like an officer at all. But looks can be deceiving, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office learned Tuesday morning. Hours after officials asked the public to help them identify a “suspected police impersonator...
Georgia candidates on NFL anthem protests: An act of defiance or free speech
Georgia candidates on NFL anthem protests: An act of defiance or free speech

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackles Grady Jarrett (97) and Dontari Poe (92) take a knee during the national anthem before an NFL football game. Carlos Osorio/AP Georgia Republicans responded with disgust to the wave of NFL players across the nation who demonstrated during the national anthem after President Donald Trump slammed...
More Stories