AUSTIN (KXAN) - Travis County returns came in painfully slow on Tuesday as election officials said that people at several polling places remained in line one hour and 45 minutes after the polls were to have closed.
By 9:05 p.m., officials reported that everyone who had waited in line to vote had cast their votes.
Houston Elementary School and Randalls on Ben White Boulevard were two of the last polling places in Austin to close.
Officials had no immediate explanation why the voting process was taking so long, but throughout the day there were reports of delays and computer problems at a handful of locations.
Central Texans turned out to vote in brisk numbers as the clock on the 2012 elections headed toward the final countdown, but early voting numbers show the turnout was less than in 2008.
Voters may have decided to wait until Election Day to cast their ballots instead. Travis County reported that as of 4 p.m., 103,400 voters voted.
Later at 6 p.m., Travis County reported 124,500 voters cast ballots.
Later, as of 8 p.m., Travis County reported 139,559 had voted.
The busiest time for turnout was after people got off work, so voters waited in line for awhile between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. when the polls closed.
Registered voters could cast ballots at any polling place, not only in the part of the city where they reside. But voters in Williamson County and Hays County were required to vote at their assigned precincts.
Numbers for those who voted early in Travis, Williamson and Burnet counties, through Friday when early voting ended are:
- Travis County = 37.39 percent, or 237,419 voters of 634,931 registered -- in 2008, there was a turnout of 49.06 percent
- Williamson County = 41.43 percent, or 105,408 voters of 253,440 registered -- in 2008, the turnout was 48.42 percent of registered voters
- Burnet County = 35.87 percent, or 9,554 voted of 26,635 registered -- in 2008, nearly 10,000 people voted early, just slightly more than this year.
There were reports of long waits at many voting locations. Lines at the Highland Mall location were moving quickly because 30 voting machines were in operation.
Rick Barron, Williamson County elections administrator, said the county had a large turnout and steady lines at many polling locations.
Capital Metro offered free rides to the polling locations on city buses, MetroRail and MetroAccess.
The Travis County ballot for some precincts had as many as 50 items to vote for.
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