Early Voting Line Stretches Around the Block on First Day of Early Voting

Clearly, Upper West Siders are pumped to register their votes. Some photos and videos we got early on Saturday showed substantial lines at the David Rubenstein Atrium on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets — in fact, the (socially distanced) line wrapped around the block at least twice.

The same thing happened at West Side High School at 140 West 102nd Street. Pablo Zevalos wrote that the line went “from the 101st street entrance to West Side High School out to Amsterdam, over to 102nd, down Columbus to 100th, back out to Amsterdam, and back toward the West Side High School entrance. Simply astounding.”

Remember, each person is assigned to one early voting site so you can’t just go anywhere. Read more on how to do it here.

NEWS | 56 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      At 104 street it’s at least 8 blocks long.

    2. Cordcutter says:

      Generally how long has been the wait today?

    3. yoma says:

      Over 4 hours at Bway & 62nd St. On average, 3+ hours. The line did a figure 8, started on Columbus between 62/61 headed north, did a hairpin turn doubling back on itself heading south on Columbus, then east onto 61st, north onto Bway, west onto 62nd across the street heading north on Columbus to Rosa Mexicano up to PJ Clark’s, east onto 63rd, South on Bway toward Starbucks and into the David Rubinstein Atrium. Early on, there was inadvertent mingling with shoppers waiting for the new Target to open. Excitement included one very belligerent guy who was mad about the confusing line… and a very astute 104 yr old woman who cast her ballot. (This woman, named Ruth, was born in 1916 before women could vote.)

    4. Tam says:

      On the flip side – there was no wait if you had an absentee ballot and dropped it off at Lincoln Center. I breezed in, dropped my ballot off, got my sticker, and was out the back door in under 60 seconds.

      • fellow westsider says:

        Excellent. How does that work exactly? Is there a clearly marked, separate line for voters who just want to return their absentee ballots? Did you enter via the Broadway entrance?

        Thank you — we hope to drop off our absentee ballots tomorrow.

        • MaryC says:

          You tell the person monitoring the line or flash your absentee ballot and they let you right in. The box is near the entrance then you walk through the atrium to get out the other side. 60 seconds is about right 😃

        • Ruby in Manhattan says:

          Someone met us at the entrance & directed us to a ballot box just inside, on the right. We were in and out in less than two minutes after arriving.

        • Steve Friedman says:

          Yes you can drop off your absentee ballot also at the Amsterdam & 102nd St location. Just ask one of the many guides and they will direct you the Official Absentee Drop-off Box. We did that yesterday.

    5. Karen says:

      Does anyone know where the absentee ballot drop box is located at the 102nd street site? Does one have to go past the line and through the door to the gym and down the stairs to get to the drop box?
      thanks

      • TRD says:

        The drop box is outside the polling entrance at 101st St. no need to wait on the line. Just walk right up and drop your envelope in.

        • Karen says:

          Thank you so much!!!

        • SharpeyedLooker says:

          It’s great to know that people CAN simply leave their ready-to-go absentee ballot AT any “early-voting” polling place, rather than entrust it to the mails. ¶But as someone physically captive in a big UWS nursing home (forbidden to leave since March; barred from elevators so as to take outgoing mail to lobby floor; no visitors, still), whose ballot WAS mailed after major clogs right here, i’d like to know for others’ sake: CAN a quantity of these absentee ballots be taken in – say by a staffer – ONLY to an ‘early’ polling place? Or may they also be left 500 beds here, and who knows how many who want to vote!

          • Ginger says:

            I am dropping off 4 ballots today, including my own, at our early voting place. I called the Board of Elections to be sure I could.

    6. Joshua Teitelbaum says:

      Noticed some people electioneering at a table within 100 feet of the polling lines, which is illegal, near the 102nd st polling station

      • MaryC says:

        The law likely prohibits electioneering near the actual polling site, not the lines which can be two feet or two blocks away.

    7. yoyomama says:

      If you want to drop off an absentee ballot at 62/Bway – go directly to the David Rubinstein Atrium entrance on Bway (between 62/63), hold your ballot so the bouncer can see it, and you’ll go right in. The official drop box just inside the door. No postage necessary. Bonus fact: you can drop off an NYC absentee ballot there even if it’s not your polling place. That should be true at all the boxes at early-voting sites in the city.

    8. Richard says:

      Not saying who I’m voting for, but I’ll wait in line all day to cast my early vote. N fact, I’ve been waiting for nearly four years.

    9. Rob says:

      I was in line from 10:30 until 3 to vote today. 4.5 hours.

      • TruthSayer says:

        but why? I don’t get it. Was today the only day you could do it? Early voting goes through this Sunday?

    10. TryingMyBest says:

      Although I have an absentee ballot I will try to vote in person because the absentee ballots will not be counted until 10 days after the election. But if lines remain very long I will just use the dropbox. Good luck everyone!

    11. Jd says:

      Very Proud of West siders for coming out and waiting for hours just to vote. Good Americans.

    12. Glen says:

      At 6:50am on Monday, the third day of early voting, the line at West Side High School ran from the door on 101/Amsterdam, out to Amsterdam, up to 102/Amsterdam then east down 102 to Columbus and then up to 104/Columbus. Poll worker advised a 2 hour wait for those just arriving. I will try tomorrow night on the way home.

      • Isabella says:

        Glen-that wait was more like 4 hours not 2. I waited close to 4 hours today. I was not expecting that on a rainy day. There are about half the poll workers there should be. Be prepared. Bring snacks and water. You’ll need them. While it’s wonderful to finally vote it’s really sad that a city as important as New York cannot ever run an election right.

    13. John says:

      Millennials cant wait 4 hours that will be a problem for Biden

    14. Andrew says:

      Do the polls close exactly when they are supposed to or if I get in line at 3pm and they close at 4pm will they remain open for those already in line?

      • Georaven says:

        If you are on line at the official closing time you will still be admitted to vote. But if you arrive after the poll closes you’ll have to come back another day. There will most likely be a police officer standing at the end of the line preventing late arrivers from joining the line. That’s one of the reasons why poll workers often work several hours after the official closing time. They can’t even begin the process of closing until the last voter in line votes.

    15. TomF says:

      On Monday we got on line at 102 St at 11:00 and after snaking around and through the Frederick Douglass Houses we finally entered the polling place at 2:15. Once inside it was pretty efficient and we were finished voting by 2:30. There are volunteers (not DOE workers) managing the line at this location. They are very helpful and courteous and deserve high praise for stepping up to maintain order in a situation that could easily become chaotic.

    16. SBG says:

      Bravo Lynn. I saw many young people out helping guide the lines & bewildered voters, & many young people on line too — an inspiring sight. This was at 102nd Street.

    17. jg says:

      As a help to all UWSers, it would be great if you could post some sort of real-time updates on how the lines are doing at the early voting sites.

    18. Elizabeth Sachs says:

      Do I need to stand in line to put my absentee ballot in the box at the early voting site?

      • yama says:

        If you have your NYC absentee ballot all ready to go and sealed up, then go directly to the entrance. Please have it visible in your hand so the security person can see it. There’s a drop box inside. (Also note: please read all the absentee instructions carefully or it won’t be counted. If it requires an outside envelope and you lost it, don’t put it in the box. If you’ve written on the envelope, it’s invalid. If the bar code doesn’t appear in the plastic window – no-go.

        Also note: The drop box is ONLY for ballots from the 5 boroughs. If you have an out-of-state ballot, you must send it through the US mail.

        Hope that helps

    19. NNWW says:

      Line at West Side High School was even longer on Sunday…up to 104st and Columbus, looping down to 101st, back over to Amsterdam, around the school and down to 100th street, back up to Columbus at 101st pathway…four hours in line, but 10 minutes or less to vote. Here’s to all the volunteers who remained cheerful, as did fellow voters in line! Thanks to St Michael’s for soup!

    20. SharpeyedLooker says:

      Correx: My final question ‘lost’ a key chunk: May multiple ready-to-go ballots also be left, ON Election Day, at a ‘regular’ (or only at ‘our’) polling site? Will the ‘drop boxes’ required for direct deposit also be present at the regular sites, or ONLY at the vote-early sites? Thanks for all solid, ‘horse’s mouth’ info!

    21. Z says:

      Does anyone know how long the 102nd St line is today? If you go, please let us know how long the lines are!

    22. WeaGuy says:

      Looks like I’ll be voting on Election Day as usual…

    23. Lenore says:

      I voted at 102nd on Monday, got there at 2:00 knowing they would close at 3, 2 1/2 hrs on line, 10 minutes to vote, volunteers on the line and inside very helpful. The line kept moving which helped, and I had reading material.

      • Heidi says:

        My husband is on the line at 102nd street right now (as of a few minutes to 5pm), and he’s been told that it’s a four-hour wait yet again (this is our 3rd attempt in 3 days).

      • Wendi Lee says:

        I was in line 4:02 minutes today, I put my stopwatch on. There was a lot of nice people to chat with. Bring a chair and a book. Charge your phone. We had musical entertainment and some candy bars handed out. I hate to say it, but FLorida does early voting much better. Room for improvement Board of Elections.

        • Wendi Lee says:

          I was in line at 102nd street – West Side High school. My previous post did not specify in the reply.

    24. DH says:

      Will the huge numbers of early and absentee voters shorten the lines on November 3rd?
      Is there any way to predict that?

    25. Vincent says:

      4 hours at 102 today.

    26. Eric Probst says:

      It looks like Trump won the propaganda war on
      mail in voting. While Democrats this Summer promoted mail in voting giving the examples of states with practically complete mail in systems in the Fall they backed off and now have joined Trump in asking people to risk their lives to vote.
      The majority of people I saw at the Lincoln Center voting site Saturday through Monday were in high risk for Covid groups.There was no reason thousands of at risk folks needed to stand in cold rainy weather to vote.
      There should be drop off boxes set up by BOE throughout the city as well as dedicated boxes for ballots at every Post Office so they arent mixed with regular mail.We could have done better.
      There is a New York State law stating it illegal for local election boards to have more than a 30 minute wait at polling places: Will AG Leticia James bring cases against NYC BOE?