Voters turned away after early voting polls close in Hamilton Co - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Voters turned away after early voting polls close in Hamilton County

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee voters rushed to the polls Thursday night. It was their last chance to vote early.

The big turnout caused long lines, parking problems and heavy traffic in Chattanooga.

Polling sites were busy up to the very last minute. Voters were being turned away after the polls had closed.

One minute past 7:00 p.m. was too late to cast a ballot at the Hamilton County Election Commission.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Early voting ends in Tennessee

"I can't let you in. It's the law," one poll worker told a voter who showed up just minutes after the voting deadline.

Bobby Cowart got off work just a few minutes too late. He now plans to vote on Tuesday.

"I was a little bit disappointed, but looking at all the lines the past week, I'm hoping that Tuesday, I'll just run right through," he said.

The line to vote was wrapped around the building.

"I know Tuesday's gonna be crazier than it is right now. But I wasn't expecting it to be this crazy," said early voter Tequila Bonner, who waited in line for 45 minutes.

The Election Commission's parking lot ran out of space during the after-work rush, forcing drivers to park in the grass.

Voters waited patiently outside, while poll workers inside kept the lines moving.

"I just didn't expect this many people to be out here," said Chip Pollard, a first-time voter.

"Everybody was like, oh my gosh, it's such a long line. But it was probably only 30 minutes," Kelley Nave said after she voted.

Nave expected to wait much longer than 30 minutes, and was pleased to leave in less than an hour.

The crowds on Election Night could be even bigger.

"Waiting times are going to be off the charts that day," said Nave. "I was just terrified, with my work schedule, that I didn't want to take a chance of not being able to fit (voting) in."

Overall, more than 1.5 million people early or absentee voted statewide. In Hamilton County, nearly 74,000 people voted early.

Georgia voters can vote early through Friday.

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