It was a totally different scene on Wednesday at the Coastal Cathedral Church of God off Berwick Boulevard. The hallways were empty, the lights turned off and the parking lot was empty. The only sign the church was a polling precinct 24 hours before, was an "I Voted" sticker on the ground by the front doors.
In the back of the church, the voting machines were folded up. The "Vote Here" signs were neatly stacked in a corner. But those too were soon picked up and put in the back of a U-Haul by board of elections workers. This was the first time the Coastal Cathedral Church of God turned into a polling precinct for a major election.
"Yesterday was the biggest day I've ever seen, as far as any election goes," said Lead Pastor Dale Dyar.
From the time polls opened Tuesday morning, the line of voters snaked through out the building and at one point, spilled out on to the sidewalk. Some voters said they waited up to three hours to cast their ballot. But Dyar said no one complained, and everyone was patient.
"It was very exciting," he exclaimed., "Everybody seemed to be getting along. It was just a wonderful time to see people really express themselves in having the right to vote and being a part of such a major election."
And according to Chatham County Elections Supervisor Russell Bridges, Tuesday was one of the best elections they've ever had. More than 72 percent of voters went to the polls in Chatham County. While he admits there were some glitches, Bridges said for the most part, all the equipment worked correctly and each poll was staffed sufficiently.
But when it came to Coastal Cathedral, since it was a new polling precinct, no one expected the large crowds that showed up to vote.
"They had a very, very heavy turnout," explained Bridges. "When you have a lot of people show up, you can only move them so fast. I don't think the equipment was ever the issue, it was just shear volume of people."
Bridges said they did send extra help over to Coastal Cathedral late in the afternoon to speed things along. According to one poll worker, the last voter walked out the church's front doors close to 9 p.m.
Dyar says he's happy with the way things went and says he'll open up the church again for future elections.
Thursday, June 20 2013 12:05 AM EDT2013-06-20 04:05:47 GMT
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