Early Voting Hours Extended; We Talked to 9 People Waiting in Line


Photos by Jeff French Segall.

By Jeff French Segall

The New York City Board of Elections has extended voting hours on a few days, adding a total of nine extra hours from Friday through Sunday. The new hours are below.

The new hours for those days are:

Friday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We talked to nine people who waited to vote at West Side High School on 102nd this week. On Tuesday, people started lining up before 8 a.m., even though polls didn’t open until noon. Here’s why the people we talked to thought it was so important to vote this year.

Emma: This is the first time I can vote. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. I think it’s so important for me to vote and for people of my generation to vote because of climate change especially, and I can see what failing leadership does on a national scale versus leadership in New York City for the covid crisis – it shows what the future could look like –  what climate change will look like and the crisis it will lead to. I am voting for my generation.”

Mother:  “I agree with what Emma said.”

Tony: If you don’t vote your choice is out the window. If you make a conscious decision you make things happen the way you want them to happen

Jay: I think it’s important to participate and to be part of the process.

Jenny: “Things that are decided legislatively affect the most resource-denied people in the culture and if you don’t vote and don’t pay attention, those people suffer.”

Ed Finnegan and his wife:  “President Trump has got to go. I think I would vote for a tree stump if it were running against him. It’s important to get a Democrat back in.”

Jake and Leila:  “This is not a dictatorship.”

NEWS | 85 comments | permalink
    1. Barbara Hope says:

      What Jake and Layla said!

    2. PressedForTime says:

      Were the lines long all day too? How long is the wait?

      • weaguy says:

        People were saying 4 hours at 102nd yesterday, which is similar to the prior three days. I walked by over the weekend and it was an insane line.

      • BethyBroadway says:

        10/28: I got to 102nd at 5:45 and it took 3 hours. They said this was the fastest it has been. One poll worker said there is really no “better” time to go. He said people have camped out starting at 4 am to get in line for the 7 am start time. Poll workers and volunteers were fabulous.

    3. Joe says:

      Where are the interviews on the rest of the candidates?
      The WSR managed to do it for the primaries, but we are clueless about the other side?

    4. Phyllis says:

      I voted today after waiting an hour and a half on the disabled line. I’m not really sure why we care about what these individuals thought? I do know that I voted today and I had no information on the Republican candidates. Why wouldn’t this paper interview them? Is the media really that biased? I guess so.

      • Spoiler says:

        Why wouldn’t you just do some research yourself? It isn’t WSR’s responsibility to adjust for your laziness.

        Besides, Republicans are…Republicans. Given 4 years of incompetence and white male grievance, not a lot of research is necessary.

    5. Brett says:

      I waited four years and 4.5 hours to cast my vote on Tuesday at 102nd Street.

      • rteplow says:

        My exact same experience! I was at the 101st St. site from just before 2pm until after 6pm. Very nice people in line — I don’t think I heard a single complaint.

    6. Happy Halloween 🎃 says:

      Scary people!

      • Bill says:

        I’m having what Jake and Leila are having. Waited 4 hrs and 20 Min on Tuesday. No one complained or left the line. Poll Workers and people steering the line were teriffic.

    7. Glen says:

      It is an obscenity that almost 113,000 people were assigned to early vote in ONE small high school. According to my neighbors and the two trips up there to vote I’ve made the line is never much shy of four hours. If something like this were reported out of GA or AL we’d all be screaming “voter suppression.” Here it’s just chalked up corruption at the DOE and the incessant incompetence of the DeBlasio administration which we have all suffered under for the last seven years. I would like to early vote, but now I am resigned to waiting until Election Day afternoon at Frank McCourt.

      • Eric says:

        As my english teacher Mr. (Frank) McCourt would say … quit yer beefin’, do your job, and go have a pint after.

        • Nancy Wight says:

          Frank McCourt would have capped the E.

          • Eric says:

            He would indeed.
            I should have remembered that after all the times he reminded us of “the English and all the terrible things they did to us for 800 long years”.
            RIP Mr. McCourt

      • Kevin says:

        Hi Glen – The NYCDOE is run by state government, so your complaints should go to Andrew Cuomo and your state representatives, not our Mayor.

        Thanks!

        • Glen says:

          Kevin, spare us all the phoney excuses for your hero Mayor. WNYC ran an exhaustive story in January as to how the mayor’s office failed to lean on the beneficiaries of city tax money to make more sites open. In fact, it’s the Mayor’s office that provided the BoE with the short list of sites it could use. Once Trump is gone we have turn our attention to getting rid of the Park Slope grifting couple (who in an ideal world would be living out their days in adjoining cells to the Trump Syndicate in Florence CO). https://gothamist.com/news/despite-tax-breaks-these-city-institutions-shut-doors-voters

      • Jerry says:

        Forgive me for being blunt, but I’m extremely tired of comments so often posted here blaming the DeBlasio administration for anything and everything except weather. The commenters are either intentionally trolling or lacking fundamental understanding about who is responsible for what. To wit, no elected official owns the Board of Elections. Its ten commissioners are appointed by Democratic and Republican party leaders in the city’s five counties; New York is the only state in the country to have elections boards chosen almost entirely by party bosses. State lawmakers are responsible for amending the state Constitution, which establishes the board’s structure.

    8. Karen says:

      I have better things to do with my time.

      • Voting is your right and responsibility says:

        No you don’t.

        • Karen says:

          Ha! Ha!
          Oh yes I do, I have better things to do in my life then standing online for 10 hours to vote that never will be counted or doing my laundry at the laundromat or sitting in my car on alternate side parking days waiting for the street cleaner to come that never does.
          I’d rather be reading all about your complaints in your life on WSR drinking my hot Zabar’s coffee and having my croissant.

      • IF says:

        This might be the most ignorant comment made in the history of comments made on WSR.

        • NPK says:

          I agree! That kind of attitude is why are in the mess we are in right now with th Trump show! I voted Tuesday and waited 4 1/2 hours which was hard but when I finally ran my filled in ballot through the scanner and I knew my vote was counted I felt joyous for that moment!

      • Ish Kabibble says:

        And what is more important than voting?

      • Mike says:

        Just curious Karen… What better things do you have to do with your time?

    9. delphine says:

      Extended hours? Well that’s interesting. No one told the poll workers as of Wednesday morning – many of whom are working 9 days straight during early voting plus the very-long election day on Nov 3. I bet a lot will simply not show up for those “extended hrs.”

      Also, to the poster who mentioned “the disabled line.” There is no such thing. There is also NO senior citizens’ line.

      • Bill says:

        There is a line for people with disabilities. It forms right outside the main entrance of the school. Purely honor system to get on it. Probably 1 1/2 hr wait. Person who looked about 60, shows up and says, I am Sr. To which several of us on line replied, 75, 82, and 68 and waiting on line.

      • Susan S. says:

        Delphine, there certainly is a line for people with disabilities. Please don’t claim there isn’t. It’s extremely important that people with physical issues know that it’s available. Otherwise, they may decide not to vote. I was on that line with a friend who has a disability and is in a wheelchair, and we were treated with grace and good will.

      • BethyBroadway says:

        10/28: This evening at 102nd, they had a separate line for seniors and people with disabilities. Poll workers were going through the line and making that announcement and helping people to the right line.

      • Mary Banerian says:

        Yes there is a “disabled/senior citizens” line at the West 102 poll site. i stood in it this morning along with other seniors.

    10. Diane H Gurien says:

      I voted yesterday (Tuesday) at the David Rubenstein Atrium (B’Way @ 61st). I arrived there at about 3pm. The line to get in was very long and I’d been told that it was going to be a three-hour wait.

      Got on line, but within about ten minutes, a voting ‘official’ announced that there’d be a special ‘Senior Line’ which I qualified for. Moved to the geriatric (LOL) line and the whole process took less than one hour. Overall, a well managed and easy experience.

      As a fellow voter noted, “I’ve waited four years to vote, so another four hours is just fine.”

      • Would’ve... should’ve... says:

        Your fellow voter waited 4 years to vote? So where was your follow voter in 2016? This all could’ve been avoided if your fellow voter voted in 2016.

      • Kim says:

        Good to know they created a “Senior” Line. What is the age cutoff? Not that it matters to me since I waited 3 hours on Monday but my husband still needs to vote. Thanks!

    11. Bishop says:

      I had planned to vote at this site yesterday after work, but was tipped off by friends that the line was epic – they arrived at 1 and it took four hours. The line began at Columbus/100th, moved up to 104th, west to Amsterdam, south to 102nd, then east on a dead-end half block, back to Amsterdam and down to 101st, turning east again by the school yard toward the gym. I decided to try my luck another day when I’m better prepared!

    12. SES says:

      Gripe, gripe, gripe. How about a shout out to the Little Leaguers who gave us something to watch on Sunday as we snaked around the block?

      • Lady Di says:

        amen! if there weren’t any lines, some folks would complain about the waste of space, workers, blocked parking, etc., etc. Since it’s been clear from day one that lines would be long, do what plenty of committed voters did in the south where there are much fewer places to vote – bring a folded chair, some snacks, a book or laptop and deal with it. Or come with your absentee ballot and drop it off if you get tired of waiting after a few hours.

    13. chris says:

      The extended hours “early” are not going to help anyone who needs to be at work at a traditional time bc we don’t know how long the wait will be. Why not extend it on the other end so we can do it after work?

    14. Steevie says:

      A perfect way to vote. On Tuesday, November 3rd, I will arrive at my polling place at 5:55AM. If I am not the first, I will be no worse than the fifth in line based in previous experience.

    15. Christine E says:

      My tip: Deposit your completed and signed absentee ballot in the official drop box at an early polling site. I did it yesterday at 102th. It took maybe 20 minutes to find the drop box point among the many orderly lines. Just keep asking the friendly poll workers along the way. I was happy to avoid the 4+ hour wait and also post office drama. And I still received a sticker 🙂 BTW you can drop your NYC absentee ballot at any NYC poll site, not just your designated one.

    16. SCHLOMO says:

      I’M NOT VOTING

    17. Margaret says:

      This may not be foolproof but if you’re looking to cut your time, go right before the polling place closes. If you’re in line they have to let you vote. We got there at 3:59 (close was 4pm) on Sunday and waited 1hr 45 mins (which I think is less than most?)

      • Gina says:

        Yep. 102 St- Line “closing” at 8- and got there at 7:45 last night- waited two hours and a bit- the people behind me had a much shorter wait.

    18. Voter says:

      Is there a way to track my completed ballot once I drop it in the mail?

      All the info on the BOE absentee ballot website is for tracking an absentee ballot APPLICATION. I’ve got that already. I want to know if I can track my filled-out ballot once mailed.

      Thanks.

      • lynn says:

        When I requested a ballot I received an email confirmation with a code number to track the mailed ballot online. I would think that would be the case for everyone.

      • NY10024 says:

        nycabsentee.com/tracking

      • notsofast says:

        I think New Yorkers like the drama of standing on lines for hours. I don’t. I ignored all the right-wing disinformation from Trump, et.al., about voting by mail & requested an absentee ballot online in Sept. I received it the third week in Sept. & immediately filled it out & returned it by mail. Afterward, I tracked it online. It was received, marked “Valid,” & counted on Oct. 10th.

    19. Tom says:

      Does anyone know if you have to wait in line if you just want to drop off an absentee ballot to the ballot box?

      • LZ says:

        No, you do not need to wait in line to drop off an absentee ballot. Ask poll workers for the dropbox.

      • Voter says:

        No wait to drop off an absentee ballot. Just find the front of the line (at some locations) or ask poll workers where the drop off box is.

    20. Tim says:

      I am learning MUCH more about the situation at 102nd from the comments than the article – 5% info regarding the extended hours, 95% opinions from Trump haters. Shocking that UWSiders hate Trump, thanks for the newsflash.

      Thank you commenters for providing info about wait times and lines for the elderly.

    21. TW says:

      Voted here today — lines extremely long, with limited social distancing in seniors / handicapped line. I would recommend finding a way to vote on election day!

    22. MB says:

      As an anonymous past poll worker I think the BOE & NYC Leadership failed us. There were only 10 tables to sign in. There should have been 20 or more polling places. The NYC had 4 yrs to get ready and this is what we get. Very poor. All the BOE is doing is trying out a new beta system for future yrs.

    23. Janice says:

      I was there on Saturday and waited 4 and half hours. Absolutely worth it! Met a group of really cool people. We need to vote out Trump and I was proud of my neighborhood for standing up for democracy.

    24. Moi says:

      I`m voting for Trump. And BTW DeBlasio gotta go.

    25. Trump2020 says:

      “Four more years because we think Trump has done an awesome job” comments seem to have been edited out of this article.

    26. Ladybug says:

      To give you all a little relativity- I waited 2 hours to vote on election day in 2016. Maybe if I had waited 4 hours then, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are in! Ll

    27. Wendy Sands says:

      Wonderful article and photos. The ideas and emotions regarding voting were well thought out. The quotes were terrific, vibrant testimonials.

    28. Centuries to old... says:

      BOE has been broken from the day it started and way before me…it is so old fashion and so are the people who are running it. I don’t think they ever improved it from the day that voting started.

      • UpperWest says:

        Yes. It is wonderful that people are soldiering on, but accountability is necessary. I’ve now gone to 102nd street four different times but had to abandon each time. This morning people will be standing in the rain for hours. Tomorrow too. Fine to cheer their spirits, but voting is a primary right and obstacles to voting are the enemy of democracy. Put this on a long list of the things managed by city bureaucracy that have been appallingly mismanaged, if there even was a real, genuine attempt to manage it at all.

        • Jerry says:

          @ UpperWest It is NOT managed by City bureaucracy. The Board of Elections has ten commissioners that are appointed by Democratic and Republican party leaders in the city’s five counties–New York is the only state in the country to have elections boards chosen almost entirely by party bosses. State lawmakers are responsible for amending the state Constitution, which establishes the board’s structure.

          • Victoria Constan says:

            Thank you to you and others for clarifying the BOE voting disaster IS NOT DEBLASIOS FAULT. People take it up with Cuomo!!!

            • UpperWest says:

              You are of course correct, although the city is involved the extent that our City Council approves the commissioners, and so has the ability on that level to push for people of high operational competence.
              More broadly, yet again we have here another element of public life that has been polluted with political interference; can’t we have a professional, operationally sophisticated voting apparatus that doesn’t intersect with ANY political parties at any stage?
              It is VOTING and our primary check on governmental abuse of power. Voting’s administration needs to be on a higher plane than the parties and forces that compete for power through it.

          • I am mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any longer... says:

            Jerry you are correct!
            That’s why it’s broken!! And will not be corrected until the people have a new technology and a young management team.
            I cannot believe this is not thought out over the summer. This is how it’s been this way since I’ve started voting, so lame the BOE is. I’m so happy the mayor experience this the other day of waiting six hours to vote online with the rest of the New Yorkers. it’s way past time to clean ship. Even though they have been saying this every year and then after the elections everything goes away until the next election then it all comes back, enough is enough! (does this sound familiar?)

    29. Abdul Sayeed says:

      Complaints are the bird song of humanity.

    30. Frex says:

      These people against the President what planet r they on Obama and Binen brought this country down and as a veteran I say to these people What have u done for this country.

      • Victoria Constan says:

        My dad is near 95 and world war 2 vet. He’s done plenty for his community. He hasn’t always been Democratic. He’s a proud voter for BIDEN and says the current prez is a disgrace to our country.

    31. Lenore says:

      I voted at W 102nd Monday, line closed at 3pm so I got there at 2pm, total was 2 1/2 hrs. although the volunteers were predicting 3-4 hours. fortunately I stayed and am now very relived that it’s over. (also I got a flu shot yesterday–something else very necessary!)

    32. Glenn Richter says:

      Handicapped and seniors have a separate line at the school on 102nd Street. Just go directly to the school and ask. I went Thursday afternoon in the rain; no wait for this special line. The real wait was downstairs because there were only about a half dozen check-in tables. Much credit is due to the hardworking poll workers.

      • UWSmaven says:

        Does anyone who voted at 102nd know if there are some kind of public restrooms or porta-johns there to get you through the 3.5 hour wait? Asking for a friend 🙂

    33. Just to clarify, the 102nd street polling location is open until 4:00 today 10/30?

    34. adami says:

      Important info to cull from these comments: you can bring your completed ballot to a dropbox at this site and wait minutes, not hours. As long as you filled it out correctly, it’s just as safe, though perhaps not quite as satisfying.

      I went with my daughter to vote last Saturday, the first day of early voting. When I saw the endless, zigzagging line, I considered leaving, But it was her first time voting and she wanted to stay. Best 4 1/2 hours I’ve spent in a long time.

    35. Joseph Moran says:

      Love Ed Finnegan’s comment. That’s how bad the President is for the country and for the world.

    36. JCT says:

      My daughter voted at 102nd Street yesterday midday and said it took only 45 minutes.

    37. Lady Di says:

      to those who feel it is a waste of their time because 1) they don’t like either candidate or 2) their vote doesn’t count – we don’t always get the perfect choice of a candidate. Too many people of previous generations fought and died for the right to vote, so not exercising that right is disrespectful to those who made it happen. And yes, the process of electing a president is seriously flawed – so let’s focus on amending the Electoral College process. Until then, remember the adage: if you don’t use it, you lose it.