1,000 Cobb ballots cast in first 3 hours of presidential early voting

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1,000 Cobb ballots cast in first 3 hours of presidential early voting

Nearly 1,000 Cobb County voters cast their in-person ballots the first chance they could this election.

The first three hours of Monday — the start of early voting in Georgia — saw that many, and even more in line.

Some voters came out because they were going to be out of town for Nov. 8. Others just wanted the election to be over already.

Talia Moffitt waited for an hour to vote at the Cobb County Elections Main Office with her one-month-old daughter strapped to her chest.

For the 2012 election, she voted on Election Day, so she came out Monday to avoid the rush.

"We wanted to get out and beat the crowds," Moffitt said.

Kelvin Stoudemire, 52 of Powder Springs, said he waited 30 minutes to vote at the elections office.

Stoudemire, who has voted in Cobb for 15 years, said he wanted to "go ahead and get it done" because he's a truck driver and doesn't know when he'll be called out to spend days on the road.

Sarah Palmer came to the Cobb County Civic Center to vote for Donald Trump on Monday because she's going to be on a cruise heading to the Panama Canal on Election Day.

"I want somebody ... who will look out for our interests," said Palmer, 70, from East Cobb.

Palmer likes Trump's views on creating jobs, controlling borders and his Supreme Court picks. Plus, she likes that the real estate mogul wouldn't use the position to make more money.

"He doesn't need the job," she said.

Alan Sharples agrees. That's why he voted for Hillary Clinton at the civic center Monday.

"Her agenda fits my agenda," he said. "And the other guy is a clown."

Sharples, 62, said he felt like there were more people voting at that location than elections in the past.

"It's such an unusual election that people are driven to get to the polls considering who the candidates are," he said.

Steve Jackson, 43 of Smyrna, voted at the civic center about 10:30 a.m.

He's voted in Cobb the last 15 years and said he noticed more people voting this year.

The increase, he said, was partially due to the Opportunity School District initiative on the ballot.

Dozens of Cobb County residents wait outside the county's elections office the first day of early voting, Oct. 17, 2016. Some waited an hour. Ben Brasch/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Ben Brasch/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Janine Eveler, Cobb's elections director, said there was a line at the civic center of almost 40 people about 7:30 a.m., a half and hour before the polls opened.

They were some of the 963 people who voted at Cobb's two locations within the first three hours of the polls opening, she said.

"This is the way it is on election years," she said in front of a dense line of voters at the elections at 11:15 a.m.

But there was another reason the elections office was so busy.

The deadline to turn in property tax bills was also Monday, because the normal Oct. 15 deadline landed on the weekend.

To prepare for large crowds, Eveler's staff parked off-site and were shuttled to the their offices. She hired part-time staff, and deputies flanked the lines and helped direct the crowd.

"We knew this was going to be the perfect storm," Eveler said.

She said she'll be happy when all 144 precincts open on Election Day.

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