Like other U.S. states, California is expecting a record voter turnout
in Tuesday's election. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that there were
long lines at many polling stations across the country.
Los Angeles voter Ted Cohen says he was glad to see the crowds at his polling place, the gymnasium of a local community center.
"This is the biggest turnout I've seen in any presidential election that I've had the privilege of voting in," he said.
"So whatever side of the
fence you're on, it's nice to see that people are getting back and
voting and at least casting their opinion on what they want to see
happen in our country. I think that's promising. People are getting
involved again," he added.
Cohen's mother, Ruth, is an immigrant from Israel who was also surprised by the long lines to vote. "I've never seen it like this," she said. "Since I've been voting here for 38 years, I've never seen it like this. I waited an hour."
She says voting usually takes only a few minutes.
Election monitors from both major parties - the Democrats and the Republicans - are watching for snags in the process across the country. So are non-partisan groups like Election Protection, which reports incidents of malfunctioning voting machines in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, where poll workers are coping with heavy turnout.
A lawyer named Samantha took a half day off from work to volunteer with the organization in Los Angeles.
"I think this is a really important election," she said. "I knew that there would be a lot of voters out today, and it's a logistical nightmare in way, and I figured if I could use what legal training I have to support the system and be a part of helping the process go smoothly today, I was happy to do it."
She says she visited six polling places and found no problems, except for long lines.
Voters across the United States are making their choices for president, members of congress, and state and local officials. And many also are voting on state and local issues.
California voters, for example, are deciding whether to ban homosexual marriage. They also are determining several tax questions, public transit proposals, and a measure to promote alternative energy.
Voter Hazel Johnson says issues like these, as well as the race for president, brought her out to vote. "Every election is important to me," she said. "There's always something on the ballot that really needs my input."
Twenty three-year-old Gregory Derevianko, a graduate student in atmospheric science at the University of California, Los Angeles, voted Tuesday for the second time in a presidential election. He says casting his ballot was important. "It's something I enjoy doing, and I feel proud to be able to do it," said Derevianko.
The biggest U.S. voter turnout was in 2004, when more than 120 million Americans cast their ballots. That record is expected to be broken in this election.