November 4th, 2008
02:25 PM ET

What I saw in line at the polls

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.chuck.voting.jpg

caption="83rd BETWEEN 1st AND 2nd, NEW YORK CITY"]
Editor's Note: We knew voters would turn out in full force, but even we were surprised at what we saw. AC360°  staff share their voting stories.

Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Precinct 111 on 53rd and 9th told me I was in wrong place after looking at my paperwork, and sent me to another site a block away. When I got to second location, they also told me I was in wrong place and sent me back to where I started to begin with! I guess the guy at the original location misread the number of my district. Thankfully the line was very short and I was in and out in 10 minutes when I was finally at the right place. Had it not been for the original confusion and circling of my block trying to vote, it would've been a totally pleasant and quick experience. After some initial irritation, in the end I guess it was all good. I was happy to vote as it was an inspiring experience, and what the heck some brisk morning exercise isn’t terrible, right?

From one shy AC360° staffer

Talk about quick at 102nd + Amsterdam! We ran into a neighbor on our way out of the building who said there was barely a line and he was right. I arrived around 11:45am, and was done in less then 15 minutes.

It wasn't all super smooth, though. My husband triple-checked his registration status online even after receiving his voter card in the mail, yet he wasn't on the roster. He had to fill out a paper ballot. The woman checking names said the same thing happened to her. He wasn't happy – still isn't. I told him to call the CNN voter hotline!

My son pulled the lever to record the votes; I love that he can be part of the process.

One interesting note: while I was waiting to sign in, a woman,  probably in her 50's, came out of the booth. The guy behind me in line, who looked to be in his 30's, waved and smiled. They said a warm hello and she then told him, looking a bit down-trodden, "Well, I did it. I'm a Hillary, and it still stings, but I did it." He said, "Good for you. Thanks." No idea who she voted for... though I could guess.

The other bit of convo I picked up on: they'd just run out of doughnuts.

Sean Yates
AC360° Senior Producer

My election day experience started with a celebrity sighting.

I stopped at Starbucks to get a coffee, and two caffeine addicts down from me in line is none other than Eli Manning, quarterback of the New York Giants.

I left him alone, in part because I was still half asleep and didn't want to sound like a gawking idiot fan and also because I wanted to get out of there to beat the rush to the polls.

It was only a one block walk to the polling station and I was prepared for a long line. In fact I expected one with the idea that I could drink my coffee and read the paper while waiting.

It didn't happen. There was no line. None. I walked in, voted and walked out in about two minutes with my nearly full coffee still in hand.

However, while heading to the gym I passed another polling station only two blocks away with a line that was around the block and three local TV stations which had satellite trucks set up for live shots.

And there in line was fellow Starbucks drinker, election day voter and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, waiting to vote, just like you (but not me!).

Brooke Turnbull
AC360° Staff

Move to the burbs! No lines, and baked goods in Greenwich, Connecticut district 1 at Julian Curtis School. In an out in less than five minutes with a cup of coffee in hand. Interesting that the old hand lever machines are gone. Paper ballots instead, mark it with a pen and slide it into an electronic scanner. Rather painless.

Brittany Harris
AC360° Producer

Washington Square Village  had almost no wait around 9:30am, about 20 people total and most were in line for the other precinct. The whole process took less than ten minutes. I asked the poll worker if it had been busier earlier and she said yes, but she also said in general it's not a busy polling station, so i think I just got lucky.

Kay Jones
AC360° Coordinating Editorial Producer

Precinct 73, in Hell's Kitchen, had a wait of about an hour, but that's due to only one voting machine.  The 2nd one was broken and they were still waiting as of 11a for someone to come down and fix it.  Fortunately, the workers were nice, and the line snaked around a big conference room.

Chuck Hadad
AC360° Producer

I vote at a school on 82nd between 1st and 2nd and the line goes out to 2nd, up the avenue and wraps down 83rd halfway to 1st avenue, easily 300 to 400 people deep, probably more, and similar lines around the hood. I've voted here for 7 years and it's usually a 5 minute wait. NEVER seen anything like this. I have to say, it's inspiring.

Eric Bloom
AC360° Producer

Same here. My station is on 51st and almost 3rd Ave. the line runs down to 2nd Ave, wraps around up to 52nd and half way back toward 3rd Ave. The McCain supporters are out in force!!

Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

77th street station was an hour+ wait. With a line down 77th and up Amsterdam to 78th. No sign of McCain supporters on this part of the west side. But there was a school bake sale.

Filed under: 2008 Election • AC360° Staff • Voting
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Concepcion Lara, Bali Indonesia

    I am currently living on the island of Bali. It took me almost two days it involved driving to Denpaasr, the capital-and many complicated steps. In the end, I found and ex pat living here, Dave–who invited me to his house, offered me beverages and walked me through the process. Thanks to FED EX, I was able to send my ballot overnight for free! Once, I was finished, I took pics of my FEX ballot and hugged those at Dave's house. I love living in Bali, but today, I really wish I was in the USA to share in this historic day. Instead, I am going to Dave's huge Election Day Party–where hot dogs, hamburgers and PRAYERS will be served up. Dave, who helped at least 70 voters as of two weeks ago, said that he HAD to do something to change the course of the country and of the world. BTW, Dave said that ALL of the voters he helped had happily shared that they were voting for OBAMA! And I have to say that I have not met ONE person here –EVERYONE is talking about this election, tourists, locals and ex pats–who is not for OBAMA. Go Obama Go! The whole world is praying for you !!!

    November 4, 2008 at 6:03 pm |
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