LONG LINES EARLY AS UPPER WEST SIDERS GET OUT TO VOTE

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The line wrapped around the block at 71st and Columbus. Photo by Niles Ray.

We’re hearing about long lines at several voting spots on the Upper West Side. At the Hargrave House senior center on 71st Street, 2 out of 3 voting machines were broken as of 7:30 a.m., Niles Ray told us. But as of 20 minutes later they were fixed, Jenny Meyer wrote.

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The line at PS 163 on West 97th Street at 6:30 a.m. People waited an hour, KJ wrote. It’s “Sort of like waiting for food at a govt store in the Soviet Union.”

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The line at West 89th at 5:57 a.m. Photo by Katherine Weber.

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The line to vote at PS 87 on West 77th Street. Photo by Deri Reed.

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The PS 75 PTA was prepared! Photo by Ernie Fritz.

Send us an email at westsiderag at gmail or @westsiderag on Twitter to tell us about your voting experience.

NEWS | 72 comments | permalink
    1. Dan says:

      Esplanade was a bit unorganized, but they kept it moving!
      Certainly there must be an easier way to vote!
      App developers…let’s figure this out.

      • Keith says:

        Some guy at the Esplanade was throwing a fit about how he doesn’t have time to vote- spent 3 minutes explaining why to the volunteers. I’m not really sure why he came. I was out the door in less time.

    2. Westsidetransplant says:

      The long lines outside are often to look up your district information. After you have it, you wait in a second line inside. You can speed up the process and skip the first line if you bring your district information with you. It can be found on the voter information mailing, or by looking up your address at nyc.pollsitelocator.com.

      • Mary says:

        Exactly! I couldn’t believe all the people waiting on the line to get their Election District. All any of them had to do was look up the information themselves.

      • Independent says:

        Thank you for this tip.

        Anyone who received (and saved) a mailing from the Board of Elections with this info, can just bring it with them.

        • Independent says:

          Sorry, I just realized that the second paragraph of my above comment had already been covered by “Westsidetransplant”. I was remiss in not reading his comment more carefully before replying.

      • Vince says:

        Thank you for that Poll locator link. It was important to know your Election/Assembly district numbers. This saved me from standing on a 2 hour line on West 77th. My voting location is W 77th, but since I knew my district numbers I was able to vote on W 76th location, and there were only 10 people on line.

      • DenMark says:

        That was not my experience at 77th st polling site. If you knew your district, you still had to stand in line. Some people stepped to the side to check their address, but this was not the pacing item in the voting process. There were still many people in line to get their ballots, complete ballots, and scan their ballots. There is also an app – google NYC elections and type in your address – to get your district number.

        Skipping the first primary line would be rude to everyone in that line (many who know their district number)

        • Westsidetransplant says:

          At my polling place this AM, workers were occasionally shouting to the first line that they could skip it if they had their Election District. Which is why I posted the suggestion to bring the information when I came home. In that circumstance, I don’t believe it is rude to skip that line.

          • DenMark says:

            Of course, if directed by election officials, move on up (but this would only happen when you are near the front). But my point was that you shouldn’t expect to skip the whole hour-plus line because you know your district number.

    3. Sam Meldrum says:

      The machines at w 104th street were also broken!

      • Independent says:

        Do you mean Grace United Methodist Church at 125 W 104th St.?

        I understand that The Masters apartment building, on the corner of Riverside Drive and 104th street, is also a polling place.

        • Independent says:

          Scratch my above comment. The Masters is at the corner of 103rd street and Riverside Drive, not 104th, as I had written.

          My associating the Masters with 104th may have been due to the fact that a resident of that fine street had recently told me that his polling place is within that august building.

          Mods, perhaps, rather than posting this followup, you could instead simply delete the earlier comment of mine that it refers-to. Thanks.

    4. Richard Chused says:

      Lines at PS 199 on 70th Street at 8:15AM were the longest I’ve ever seen by far.

    5. LMN says:

      One of the polling machines at 86th was broken when I was there, and line management was poor. Several near fights. There has to be a better way!

    6. JS says:

      Jewish Woman’s Council on W 72 had a 30 minute wait, was a bit disorganized and one really rude woman who felt that it was necessary to tell me that she had a legit job, a real job, and this wasn’t it. She also complained because I pointed to my name out in the book to be helpful, and told me she was glad she didn’t have a daughter and that I was in her “stuff.” Thanks for ruining what was a really exciting moment with your insanity.

      • HelenD says:

        I also voted at the JWC on 72nd. Got there at 5:45 and there were only 6 other people present. The entire process should have taken 15 minutes but I was there for 45 minutes. I knew which district I was in but they insisted that I go to the wrong table and obviously my name wasn’t in the book and then they told me to get back on line.

        By that time there were approx 50 people lined up and I told them I was leaving so they brought me to the table where I was supposed to be in the first place and still couldn’t find my name, even though I handed them my voting card for reference. They told me that I could still vote but I’d have to sign an affidavit. My name was in the book but they were on the wrong page.

        There was one woman (volunteer) at the table who was extremely rude and condescending, particularly to a voter who had trouble with a ballot being scanned. When she was instructed by the people working the floor to give the voter a new ballot she started making comments about having to help ‘these people,’ who didn’t know what they were doing.

        She couldn’t ruin my excitement of voting in this election but it was a real eye opener to witness this behavior from someone who VOLUNTEERED!

      • UWSHebrew says:

        part of living in NYC is tolerating these obnoxious “characters”. just let her insane comments float away from you…(Calgon take me away!)

    7. whatsupduck says:

      The Church on 86th Street was SO nice and hospitable to each voter. They had hot coffee for us, told us we were awesome for voting, and we were able to sit inside! So welcoming — thank science, G-d, or whomever– they added some positivity to this nerve-wracking day!!!!

    8. Harriet says:

      No line at all at 9:30AM at 73rd and Broadway. I tried to think of it the same way I plan shopping at Trader Joe’s (HA!). Total chaos at 8AM, when everyone is shopping before heading to midtown to work. Much less crowded after the office workers head out of the neighborhood. Go vote NOW, before the evening rush begins (Just like Trader Joe’s)

      • Sally says:

        I was there at 8:00 and no lines either. Maybe it is a smaller district?

        • Cat@lynn says:

          Where is the polling place on 73rd and Broadway? I was voting around the corner on 72nd and Broadway. The last time I voted (UES) there were separate sections for the tables, cubicles and scanners, but here it was all bunched together in a small space and fairly chaotic.

    9. Sam says:

      There was no book for my district (35/69) at the poll site, which was 166 W. 92nd (Central Baptist Church), so I had to vote by affidavit. Everyone in 69 had to vote by affidavit this morning. Just called the Board of Elections and turns out that they brought the wrong book to the poll site and have now sent the correct one.

    10. Lauren says:

      Long line on 77th but it moved steadily, cute kids running coffee and baked goods if you wanted and very organized. One hour start to finish for me

    11. WALLY says:

      COULDNT BE BOTHERED

    12. Scott says:

      Yeah, I think we can do without the infantile pro-Hillary tweets, thanks very much WSR.

    13. Cato says:

      At the Mickey Mantle School, entrance on 82 between Bway and West End, the line at 9:10 AM wrapped around to West End, then from West End into 83rd Street (as in Mr Freeman’s photo above). Nevertheless, I was inside in 20 minutes and done in a total of 30.

      Real, serious kudos to those managing this operation. You all did a superb job of handling all those people in a small space. Good work!

      And a suggestion for next time: Given that this is the Upper West Side, couldn’t they just pre-print the ballots so that you sign in, get your ballot and go right to a scanning machine? Why make everyone go through the charade of going to a “privacy booth”, carefully filling in exactly the same little ovals everyone else is filling in in exactly the same way, and *then* waiting for the scanner?

      Couldn’t they just print them that way??

      • Independent says:

        I am not certain whether you were being serious or not with your suggestion.

        Did you really mean to suggest that dissenters from the UWS majority shouldn’t even be given a fair chance to cast their votes and have them counted?

      • Carlos says:

        You didn’t have to go to the privacy booth. Since I didn’t care whether anyone saw my ballot (since most of us are voting the same way), I filled it out while waiting in line to scan it and skipped the privacy booth step – much easier.

        The staff at Mickey Mantle was incredibly nice and professional. The room is just way too small for the number of people voting there. And there should be a way to find out that you can skip some of the line if you know your precinct number – you don’t find this out until you are near the front of the line.

    14. Independent says:

      Third photo, from top (“The line at West 89th at 5:57 a.m. Photo by Katherine Weber.”):

      Is that a Make America Great Again (MAGA) Trump hat that man is wearing?

      • Cato says:

        Omigod!! Omigod!! Find him! Root out the evil!

        Imagine that: Someone expressing a non-conforming viewpoint.

        This is worthy of note *why*, exactly??

        • Independent says:

          You have misconstrued the intent of my question, which I asked out of honest curiosity and interest. I certainly did not mean to express any hostility toward, reprimand or judgment for anyone who would wear such an article or otherwise openly reveal or exhibit support for Trump. (Neither, for that matter, toward any clandestine/ discreet Trump supporters/voters.)

          I do, however, seriously question the legality (or at least the propriety) of making such a conspicuous display, while voting, in support of any candidate or campaign. See Jeff Berger’s post above and my reply there.

          Your comment was useful, though. For I now know that you surely were being facetious/sarcastic in the earlier post of yours that I had hitherto not been sure about.

        • Cupcake! says:

          Well, “independent” didn’t express approval or disapproval on the matter but if she or he (or anyone else) does disapprove of such a display, let me remind them that voters are allowed to wear anything they want, as long as they wear something. Embrace the chaos of Freedom!

          • Cupcake! says:

            Self-correction: according to the Wikipedia entry on “passive electioneering”:

            ‘The State of New York has a rarely enforced law that prohibits wearing campaign buttons or T-shirt at a polling place. In the fall of 2008, New York State Board of Elections Spokesman Bob Brehm stated that voters at the polls who wear a campaign button or T-shirt will be asked to remove the item.’

            I can’t say I like it, but there you go. Apparently the ACLU is fighting such anti-free speech laws in some states.

    15. Margaret says:

      I was probably the 150th person in line at Frank McCourt this morning when I arrived at 6 am. I got out at 7 (screwed up my non-vote on the judges so I had to wait in line twice to fix it). The machines went down almost immediately after 6 so the scene inside was chaotic, and when I left at 7 there were hundreds of people standing in line to vote.

      It doesn’t make sense to me that BOE held three separate primary days this year – separate days for presidential, congressional, and state primaries – and yet New York still doesn’t run early voting days to clear some of the backlogs for the general election. I hope this gets fixed.

    16. Laura C says:

      No lines at the 102nd street polling station at 7am, but it looked like some were forming as I left.

    17. jeff Berger says:

      Please vote, but please remember that you are not allowed to wear a political shirt or hat or button within the voting area. I had to bring to the attention of the voting supervisor that two women were wearing Hillary shirts. No matter who you support, please respect other voters and the election law which creates a non-partisan atmosphere in the voting booth.

      • Independent says:

        please remember that you are not allowed to wear a political shirt or hat or button within the voting area.

        Can anyone cite a source for this?

        I am not disputing the claim but surprisingly, I could find no mention of it at the Board of Elections website at
        http://vote.nyc.ny.us

        The most I could find was the following statement, on page nine of the the BASIC POLL WORKER MANUAL at the afore-linked site:

        As representatives of the Board of Elections, poll workers should dress in a clean and professional manner.[…]T-shirts, buttons or hats with improper or political slogans, graphics, photos, midriff baring tops and ripped, torn or oversized pants are examples of inappropriate dress.

        That still leaves unclear what the law is with regard to voters.

        Also, from the same source, same page:

        Poll workers and voters are not allowed to have political conversations while at or near the poll site. Personal reading material is fine as long as it is not political in nature.

        Concerning the above statement, it is not clear to me which of the following ways of parsing is the correct one:
        – that only political conversations between poll workers and voters are prohibited (but such conversations would be permitted if limited to between voters or between poll workers, respectively)

        – that neither poll workers nor voters are permitted to engage in political conversations, whether each group among themselves, with members of the other group or with anyone else

        In any event, assuming that the claim that voters are prohibited from expressing or exhibiting overtly political messages within “the voting area” even merely by means of wearing an article of clothing imprinted with such a message, then:

        – is it too much to expect from the Board of Elections that they state such laws on their web site, in a clear, conspicuous and easy-to-find manner?

        – What about clothing or buttons, etc. imprinted only with the words, “Make America Great Again” but no explicit mention of any candidate or party? Yes, we all know that exact phrase, those four words, are the official slogan of the Trump-Pence campaign. But is that, alone, enough here? I mean, said campaign doesn’t actually hold a trademark or copyright over the phrase “Make America Great Again”, do they? An individual could, theoretically at least, wear an article of clothing or button imprinted with that exact phrase without any intent of endorsing or promoting Donald Trump’s candidacy, could he not? I honestly wonder what would happen should such a case play-out in the legal system.

        • robert says:

          Its NYC &n NYS Election Law- No electioneering within 100 feet of poll site. That covers everybody that is in the poll site at any time.

          In general poll workers will just ask the voter to remove the pin for example. A candidates Poll Watchers can and did this election about people wearing certain hats while they waited in line to vote.

      • Cat@lynn says:

        There were at least 10 20-somethings wearing Nasty Women Tshirts. No one complained about the shirts and I didn’t know it was problem. Good for them for getting out to vote!

    18. WombatNYC says:

      must be a better way to conduct voting – too many broken machines, crazy volunteers and assorted inefficiencies. Kind of third world !

    19. Stuart says:

      No line outside the church on West 73rd between Broadway and West End at 8:45am, but very cramped and crowded inside, as it’s a very small room

    20. Steven says:

      Voting by absentee ballot is the way to go. Why anyone would spend half an hour or an hour waiting to vote in NYC, where there are rarely any competitive elections, is beyond me.

      • Barbara Michalak says:

        Hear, hear. At 87, with a more elderly husband, I signed up to receive an Absentee Ballot for all elections, and mailed in my General Election ballot days ago. November 8 is not always such a picture-perfect Fall day, and our new polling place is five blocks away.

    21. Bob Alper says:

      Took me 10 minutes, in and out. Would have been 3 min, but I stopped to chat with a few neighbors.
      Of course, I live in rural Vermont…

      • dannyboy says:

        sorry then that you missed the great eats on offer.

        had a dumpling stuffed with egg et al

        and two cheese empanadas

        and… (don’t tell my wife!)

    22. DIane E says:

      41 years and once again, PS 199 was “peopled” by know nothing, do nothing, not so shiny happy people perpetuating the ineptitude of NYC polling volunteer corp.
      Why are there so many soldiers, running around like chickens without their heads on and nary a leader to see. That’s and hour of my life I’ll never get back.

    23. RK says:

      W76 st empty at 12:15

    24. Eln says:

      1 hour wait at P.S. 87 at 6 6:30 AM but only 2 machines were working at that time. Complaints all over according to NY1–i.e., wrong books, broken down machines Folks are saying it’s very suspicous

    25. Kathleen says:

      Just came back from voting at LaGuardia HS at 65th & Amsterdam. Took me an hour. I have arthritis and use a cane. There was no official information about moving to the front of the line if you have a disability, but after being in line for about 40 minutes another voter on her way out told me I could go to the front of the line. By this time I was in pain and relieved. Went up front and BOE person directed me to stand behind a man on a particular line for my ED. I did. 15 minutes later I discovered I was on the wrong line! Then no signs or direction on how to actually vote just told to go to “the back”. Went to the wrong place, then sent to the “privacy booths” (really, hardly any privacy in voting anymore at all) where there was chaos. I was so excited about voting in this historic election and I came out of there in pain and angry. I may never vote again as long as I live in NYC. Get it together.

      • Scott says:

        Just vote absentee ballot. I did it and saved myself time and apparently many headaches, based on what I’m reading here.

      • Marie says:

        I saw lines around the block at LaGuardia mid-morning but there was no line when I returned at around 2:00. Totally agree with you on the disorganization of this voting site, particularly at the scanning lines. One voter walked out leaving their incorrectly filled out ballot behind.

    26. Allison says:

      I waited 20 minutes max at the 109th Street public school to vote at 8:30ish am.

      Go vote!

    27. Mark says:

      W85th at Columbus was nearly empty at 1145a. 8mins in and out.

    28. Woody says:

      If the inept NYC Board of Elections had a slogan, it would be ‘Make America Wait Again’

    29. Vicky says:

      are the lines still bad in the West 90s?

    30. Jsf says:

      At 6:15 AM the line ran from 96 st &,West End Ave (PS 75) to 95th St. Along 95th st to Riverside Dr. It was chilly so we hopped from foot-to-foot and advanced fairly quickly to the poll entrance. The polling place was crowded, but organized and we manouevred easily through the process and left with our “I voted” sticker and a silent prayer that our choice would be the victor.

      • Nasty Girl says:

        I left for work about 8:40am and decided to skip that line, it was just too long. Took my chances after work about 6:40 and was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

        A co-worker also suggested looking up assembly and district before going in case the lines were long, which was good advice.

    31. Ann March says:

      I was #240 at the district 059 table @ the Esplanade @ 2:00. No line, no wait, poll workers normal, knowledgable, and friendly.
      Please vote everyone. We live in a very fortunate corner of the world and are not used to much discomfort. Our participation in this rite/right helps keep us a democracy.

    32. Cupcake! says:

      As I looked out my window this morning and saw the long line to the local polling place stretching from mid 89th St around to Amsterdam Ave and out of sight, I resigned myself to a long wait. However, this is not my polling place; mine is a couple blocks away on Columbus Ave. When I got there – Hurrah! – there was no line at all outside and just 6 or 7 people ahead of me at my table inside.

      But here’s the kicker: bubbling up in all directions was a froth of complaints from my fellow voters. “Nobody’s doing their job!” “So disorganized!” I was stunned. I wanted to shout out, “I bet in Nazi Germany things were very well organized! With Freedom comes Chaos! Embrace the Chaos!”, but wisely didn’t. However, even that impassioned exclamation would have been disingenuous, because it wasn’t disorganized at all. I was in and out of there in 10 minutes. OMG, so to speak.

      My sympathies go out to those who did have long waits but, hey, embrace the chaos of freedom!

    33. Young Sally says:

      8 min total at Phelps House at 3PM…thanks to commenter who mentioned looking up your district ahead of time….great time saver

    34. UWSHebrew says:

      wow. first time i’m glad i live in “Manhattan Valley”, just three people ahead of me on line (at 4:30)!

    35. T0M o'bRIEN says:

      Three out of four scanners not working on W. 65th St. Long lines!

    36. Elisa Seidman says:

      No lines, no problems at 1pm at the Esplanade.

    37. Alicia says:

      No line at 4:55pm at Find Aid for Aged (Hamilton) on W73rd between Columbus and Broadway. In and out in less than 10 minutes. Thanks to the poster who suggested looking up my Election and Assembly districts.

    38. Westsidezil says:

      Any word on lines at Rutgers Presbyterian
      236 West 73 Street? I’m headed there after work.

    39. UWSHebrew says:

      Congratulations Donald Trump! As I’ve stated here before, this country does not think like the Upper West Side. Goodbye forever Clintons!