High Turnout, Heavy Rain, and Tap Dancing on the Last Day of Early Voting

Last day of early voting at West Side High School.

By Renee Roden

Although Upper West Siders set their clocks back last weekend, not all of them used the extra hour to sleep. At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, voters were already lining up at West Side High School on West 101st Street to cast their ballots on the last day of early voting.

“We’ve got to get out to vote—to make sure it’s an overwhelming victory,” said Adam Singer, a schoolteacher.

Singer was nervous about the turmoil a close election could cause. He will be working on Tuesday so he wanted to be sure to get his vote in by Election Day.

The steady line of voters on West 101st trailed around the corner up Amsterdam Avenue. But unlike earlier in the week, the lines moved quickly on Sunday.

West Side High School has been the second-busiest polling place in Manhattan for early voting. Poll workers estimate that an average of 3,000 voters have come through the doors of the the school each day.

On Thursday, poll workers said that voters waited in line for an average of four hours to cast their vote. In response to the long lines, the New York City Board of Elections extended early voting hours for Saturday and Sunday. And New Yorkers used every one of those hours.

Poll workers and other sidewalk denizens entertained the voters to keep them on line. Spirits seemed bright as the line moved quickly—but who couldn’t use a cheering squad now and again?

Another entertainer was performing for the crowd earlier in the week. Maya Williams Lippman sent the video below.

“Voters seem engaged,” said Madison Dawkins, campaign manger for Shaun Abreu, who is running for City Council next year in a district that includes parts of the Upper West Side.

Dawkins handed out Halloween candy and flyers promoting the Democratic candidate. Down the avenue from Dawkins, a table of Upper West Side Democrats were decked out in Biden gear. They disappeared when the rain kicked up in the afternoon.

But rain or shine, the show must go on—and so does the vote. Darin Chumbley lived up to a show biz tradition and kept tap dancing in the rain.

“When lines are long, people are disheartened and leave. I try to give them a little motivation to keep going,” said Chumbley.

Chumbley volunteered as part of an initiative of artists he called “Broadway on the line.” He had put in a solid two-and-a-half hours at Madison Square Garden earlier in the week. And he had been tapping on Amsterdam since 10:30 a.m.

Chumbley hoped his presence both lifted voters’ spirits and drew their attention to the sector of the New York City economy that has been consistently hurting—the arts.

“The arts aren’t considered essential, but the arts are the engine that keep New York City going,” he said.

“If we can use our talents to keep people entertained and give them the motivation to keep going, it’s the least we can do,” said Chumbley.

NEWS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. robert says:

      High turn out?????
      In Manhattan there are 1,209,469 registered voters of which 238,581 voted leaving 970,888
      left to vote That means turnout was just under 20%.
      City wide totals are 5,320,050 registered voters and 1,119,056 voted early, leaving 4,200,994 to vote tomrrow.

    2. Big Earl says:

      After watching people all week wait 2-5hrs to early vote, I walked into W 71st this morning to vote. There was NO line. Just walk in and VOTE!!!

    3. Thanks for covering this most important election. It was a pleasure to be part of Broadway on the Line and dance for so many NY voters. Democracy at its best when we all participate.
      All the best, Darin Chumbley

      • GG says:

        You are AWESOME!!

        Thanks so much for taking your time to do that. You are what is right about this country.:)

        God bless you and yours!

    4. mh says:

      It WAS a high turn-out–remember, this was only early voting. We will catch up today. As an agnostic, if ever there was a time to pray, this is it.

    5. Lisa says:

      Just voted at 9 am at 141 W. 73rd. No line at all. A ton more pollworkers than I’ve ever seen at that location. Super efficient process. Impressed and glad I procrastinated.

      • lizzie says:

        Ditto at 104th Street at 10:00. No line, lots of friendly poll workers. Procrastination never felt so good 😉

    6. Danielle Remp says:

      I walked passed two voting sites this morning, between 8:30 and 9:30 — the David Rubinstein Atrium at 62nd Street and P.S. 199 at 70th street.
      Zero line. Zero.
      Don’t know how to interpret this.

    7. Debby Kraus says:

      Such meaningful words, Darin. Hopefully, your hoofing it will be resurrected soon for all those who cannot share their talents at this time. We need to be “taken away” during these days.

    8. Thanks Renee. It was a pleasure meeting you. I had a great time tapping for the crowd. Civic engagement is so important both in supporting our candidates of choice but also bringing attention to causes we are passionate about. I will always be a tireless advocate for my vibrant community of artists.
      All the best,