EDMOND — By the time polls closed Tuesday, David Johnston already had been standing in line at the polls for an hour and a half.
He expected to be there at least another half-hour.
“I brought a book to read,” he said. “So I'm good.”
Johnston stood in the lobby of LifeChurch on E Second Street in Edmond Tuesday evening, reading a book on his computer. Around him, James Brown's “Living in America” could be heard over the dull clamor of a few hundred other voters.
Even after polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, a line of voters snaked around the lobby of the church, slowly moving toward the polls.
Poll workers brought out bowls of snacks and canisters of coffee and iced tea for those in line.
Earlier in the evening, voters waited even longer — some up to three hours — as the line stretched out the door and into the parking lot.
Phil Prasse, of Edmond, had been waiting in line for about 30 minutes when the polls closed. When he arrived, poll volunteers told him to expect a two-hour wait, he said.
As he waited, Prasse took a last look at a sample ballot on his phone from the Oklahoma County Election Board's website.
Between the presidential race and the six state questions on the ballot, Prasse said, the election was important enough to wait in line.
Another voter, Dave Farrand, agreed. He, too, had been waiting in line for about a half-hour when the polls closed. Farrand said he'd heard about the long lines at the church even before he arrived.
“I kind of had an inkling it would take two hours,” he said.
Oklahoma Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said his office had heard reports of long lines at precincts all across the state. Those wait times are mostly due to high voter turnout, Ziriax said.
Although the recent change in Oklahoma's voter ID laws may have slowed the process somewhat, Ziriax said, the largest part of the problem was simply accommodating more voters than the system usually handles.
The high turnout is fairly typical for a presidential election, Zyriax said. Although he didn't head up the election board at the time, Zyriax said his staff told him the state saw similar wait times during the 2008 election.