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I just voted in a south-central Pennsylvanian suburb, in Cumberland County, and was in and out of the whole voting place in less than three minutes. No line at all, just had to wait for my brother who walked in just ahead of me.

This is my first time voting again in PA after 3 decades, so I had to show my ID which was my Massachusetts driver's license which still shows my old address in Massachusetts, where I moved from six months ago. I saw the election clerk do a double take, on my address, but then he seemed to pause and decided not to challenge me, despite the fact that all the literature on the table said only a PA photo will be acceptable in the future.

I had brought my bank statements, and other proof of recent address just in case. I almost brought it up, but decided not to make an issue of it if he wasn't going to.  

Then was led right to one of 10 empty voting booths. I selected the lever for whole Democratic ticket. One local Senate seat was unopposed so I wrote in my mother's name, rather than not vote against a Republican.  

Then walked out.  

It was sort of odd, for it to be over so quickly after spending over a year and half actively engaged in opposing the Republicans, and worried about voter suppression, and debating with my friends for half of a year about this PA ID rule. And, also seeing all these stories about  6 and 8 hour waiting times in Florida, and Ohio.  

In Weston, Ma where I used to live most folks had an upbeat, almost ebullient mood around the election places -  gathering in the parking lot to happily chat, and giving friendly nods to fellow voters even though they are strangers - with a feeling like "isn't it great we are all Americans and all voting no matter what our Party (which admittedly was mostly Democrats.)"

But, in the voting place this morning I was surprised at the dour, somewhat cold mood of most of the voters in this place in PA.  The elections official were all friendly and polite, but the voters very reserved, and seemed to be to be upset, or almost afraid of confrontation, or challenge, or hoping to avoid any engagement with anyone.

Except for a small gathering of what appeared to be Republican activists who had gathered at the far end of the school where election was occurring, who smiled and waved as people walked toward the entrance, most folks looked down, avoiding eye contact, keeping to themselves, seeming to want to avoid any engagement or confrontation. But, when my family first moved to PA from CA, I noticed people were more like like this everywhere, something I attributed to the cold weather where this time of year, one sort of grits one's jaw just walking outside to brace against the elements.  

I wondered it maybe this year the average person is trying to avoid engaging in what has become a more contentious contest between the extremes, but my brother says it has always been like this at this voting place.

While it is great to finally vote, and wonderful to be able to do it a complete in and out in three minutes, this experience reinforces my suspicious that the tremendously long lines we've seen at early polling places, and in inner city, and other Democratic areas in Ohio and Florida may be deliberate under-allocation of voting machines by Republican control county or state election commissions.  I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes to vote in my entire life, and these voting machines do not look expensive at all. And, I'm pretty sure that if there had ever been wait lines of even 45 minutes anywhere I've ever lived, there would be such outrage and demands that the election commissioners be fired that it would never happen again.

It should be a straight forward simple set of calculations to make sure there are sufficient voting machines in all location such that no one as to wait more than 45 minutes to vote. We need to demand Congressional hearings into this, and have a serious study of the relative waiting times between wealth suburbs and inner city areas.

In a post yesterday I quoted a study indicating people of color use early voting 26 times more than other groups. I suspect this is because these are among the groups that experience 8 hour waiting lines and end up getting disenfranchised, not a "unique cultural quirk."

Keeping voting sites open longer hours is a band aid solution, the root cause appears to be under-allocation of voting machines to places where history and simple registration math can predict where we need more voting machines.

I'd be interested to hear in comments what you waiting time to vote was, and what type of community you live in.    



How long did you have to wait to vote this election?

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| 97 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  We have no polling places (7+ / 0-)

    all mail voting in Washington - this year there has been nearly no political snail mail at all, one or two pieces at most.

    •  That's interesting. I just heard something about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      perhaps allowing people from NJ vote my email.

      Maybe it is possible we could use innovations like these to make voting a whole lot easier for people?

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:16:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  New Jersey (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slksfca, HoundDog

        like Florida and Ohio has no-excuse absentee voting, which I think is a transitional phase to all mail as it becomes more popular.

      •  It's a response to the hurricane (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for people and polling sites that have been washed away. But there are a lot of problems with the email vote - many have not received their email ballot. Of course this is a last minute fix and problems were to be expected. There is also much criticism of how email votes would not be secure.

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:37:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Zero wait time in Oregon (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, newdem1960, slksfca

      I love the mail-in voting system here and was glad to see Washington adopt something similar.  Hopefully more states will follow suit.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:18:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love voting by mail, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, HoundDog, Its a New Day

      except it's not the emotional experience that going to the polls used to be.   When I first started voting in the 1970's, the poll workers were fifty years older than me and called me "Honey".  They were always dressed in red, white and blue and fancy accessories.  With sensible shoes.  I always got a little teary about getting my "I VOTED" sticker.

      Now, in Washington, we vote alone or with our families at home, or at the office, then mail the envelope or go to a drop box.  I expect that we will be 'doing it' electronically in the next decade.   It's easier, less room for shenanigans, but not so personal and decisive.  What I like most about it is that we get two weeks to do the deed.  If I'm stuck on some county official or oddball initiative, I have lots of time to stop and review my decision by gathering more information.

      I think that voter suppression has ruined the beauty of the ballot box for so many.  There is no freedom when you are cheated out of your vote by software or incompetent poll management.  Obviously weather can keep you from voting in person, as can illness, work, transportation, etc.

      Mail only voting is a good change.

    •  25 minutes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When I voted in Detroit last time it was at least a couple of hours, and there was one pregnant woman in line who had an emergency — and they took her to the front of the line to vote before taking her to the hospital. That was exciting. (They were being very good about everything, though, and everyone was patient. It wasn't bad.)

      This year I'm voting in Grosse Pointe and fully expected to be in and out in five minutes. There was tremendous turnout, though. I ended up waiting in line for 15-20 minutes and then taking 5-10 minutes to vote. I was out the door in 25 minutes. Not bad.

      It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

      by dconrad on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:43:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

      That was supposed to just be a post, not a reply to you. Sorry.

      It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

      by dconrad on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:43:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i early voted 12 days ago (4+ / 0-)

    there were other people there but no waiting
    today i took my son to his little toddler gymnastics class at the community center.  it is also a polling place.  there were about 5 people in line at all times, moving smoothly - the parking lot is a madhouse (there is also a preschool in there as well as exercise classes for adults and ballet for the little ones).  
    this is the far west chicago burbs - Saint Charles, Illinois

    We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams. - Peter S. Beagle

    by jk2003 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:16:56 AM PST

  •  Ann Arbor (3+ / 0-)

    I voted in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  In 2008, it took around 30 minutes (arrived 10:30).  Today, it took around 55 minutes (also arrived 10:30).  There were a bunch of ballot initiatives that may have slowed things down a bit, but the lines were moving and folks were not leaving the line.

    We should have mail voting in every state.

    •  Scio twnshp, immediately west of Ann Arbor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Man Called Gloom

      Around 30 minutes. This was my daughter's first election and she didn't seem overwhelmed by the ballot, though my wife and I reviewed it with her at least twice prior to today.

      Mail voting is fine with me, but I'd prefer "no excuse" in-person early voting for at least a week, at designated satellite locations, prior to election day.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:50:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  45 minutes in Capitol Hill, DC precinct! (3+ / 0-)

    I'm taking nothing for granted! I arrived a little after 7 this morning to vote. The line was extending to midway down the block. By the time I had scuffled towards the front of the line, the queue backed into the next block. Very large crowd! Also getting clues from friends and coworkers in Northern Virginia/Arlington where lines have been exceptionally long. Looks good so far.

    It was frigid this morning. The Washington Post is saying today could be a colder election day in DC than 1960 even (I wasn't alive then anyway, but...) Felt like January, but I want to nail in Obama's chances.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

    by rovertheoctopus on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:17:54 AM PST

  •  I had to wait about 45 minutes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

    Which was down from earlier times. My polling place is new because the old one is gone - a new building is under construction there now. The new one was in the basement of a very small room in a college dorm and only one district, Normally there are about a half dozen to 10 districts and you have to find your proper one. But now they have switched to scanners where the old ones used to be the lever machines.
    I do not like the new system, there are more steps and more opportunities for error. Gotta agree with Mayor El Bloombo that they could just have gotten new parts for the old machines.

    When I scoped out the site (because it was new) I could see it was down a set of stairs into a basement and wondered about handicapped accessibility. Then I got a notice in the mail for special arrangements for HC. Then today they rearranged the entrance around the back up a little ramp, precluding that problem but it was awful next to huge HVAC units waiting in line outside in the cold. But at least it wasn't as bad as the huge line on the Upper East Side where you stood in one line to get your ballot and fill it out, then a second line again, to get it scanned. Annoying!

    But at least everyone was extremely friendly! Democratic strongholds must be friendlier! Your situation sounds  a little depressing. And everyone says NY'ers are so unfriendly!

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:17:57 AM PST

  •  Voted during lunch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

    Biggest problem voting here is being careful not to get marinara sauce on the ballot.

    Vote by mail makes a lot of sense.

  •  Philly suburbs, no line at all (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, eXtina, A Man Called Gloom

    I live in a smallish town though.

    •  NW Philly. Two people in line ahead of me. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

      Then my partner and I went to the store to get  cheese & crackers & a veggie tray for the workers (they said all they had was sweet stuff to munch on).  

      We have 2 or 3 divisions voting in the same place, so lots of grateful people.

      "The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." Molly Ivins

      by janmtairy on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:34:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you in a mostly Republican area? (5+ / 0-)

    If so, I guess the low turnout is a good thing (although in theory, I want everyone to vote because I believe in it). But you make a very good point about the lines only being long in urban areas...very unfair, and designed to suppress Democratic vote.

  •  Los Angeles, CA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

    It took me about 10 minutes. Friendly, helpful precinct workers that remind me of my mom who's a precinct worker in PA. There was a short line, but I also took longer to vote because I kept tearing up. I cried all the way back to my car after I handed in my ballot. It gets to me every time.

    I'm so fired up, I had to make a few calls into Ohio, just to DO something.

  •  40 minutes in Somerville, MA this morning (4+ / 0-)

    Today's was the longest line I've seen in the 7 years I've voted at this polling place.  Somerville is reliably Democratic - there was no Republican challenger to Rep. Mike Capuano.  Lots of enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren.

  •  My polling place... (3+ / 0-) a residential San Francisco neighborhood was busier than I remember from '08, which I find encouraging (I went, as I usually do, at 10 AM, just after the morning rush of people on their way to work.)

    But I had zero wait time, and the poll workers were models of helpfulness and congeniality.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:26:58 AM PST

  •  Naperville, IL (4+ / 0-)

    Less than 2 minute wait.  It's a middle/upper class suburb of Chicago that I grew up in, so they have more resources.  Interesting that there were no Romney signs outside the school where the voting took place, but an Obama/Biden sign greeted me before I turned the corner into the parking lot.  

  •  CT elementary school (4+ / 0-)

    I was flirting with the baby on the shoulder of the guy ahead of me, so I was diappointed that the line was so short.  I probably spent more time at the bake sale in the hallway than in the auditorium.  I don't think I've ever seen the parking lot so busy for an election - there were spots opening up about as fast as the cars came in, but there was never one vacant.  

    Paper ballots with optical scan - sigh - I miss the old lever machines.

    Go Chris Murphy!

    Please, call me "Loris."

    by s l o w loris on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:31:38 AM PST

  •  I now live in a smallish city and we have... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

    optical scanners here.  Today there were approx. 8-10 stations per precinct where voters could simultaneously fill in the circles on their ballots, then when finished, go over the person(s) stationed at a table who tore off the ballot number tag that sticks out from the ballot folder, and then voters would feed the completed ballot into the optical scanner machine.

    Though there was a good turnout, compared to mid-term election, and I think even the 2008 election, the only wait was to get to the table to fill out the form (name, address, signature) to get the ballot.  

    Previously I lived in a metropolitan suburb, where we had voting booths.  I always had to wait in line to use the 2 to 3 booths available there, and complete the electronic ballot in the machine.

    Even though this city is smaller, I think that the scanner system is more efficient because several voters at a time can sit/ stand at low tech booth (sectioned off areas of tables, using pencils to fill in circles on a paper ballot) then as they finish, feed the ballots into the scanner.  It only takes a couple of seconds to feed the ballot into the scanner and you're done.  

    I don't know the relative costs/ pros & cons of optical scanners vs. voting booths/ computers--but the optical scan system kept the lines moving here relatively fast.

  •  biggest problem for me was choosing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, A Man Called Gloom

    the wrong time to go ;)  my polling place is at a school, and I got there right after the busses left but before the parents did .. very little parking, and the place was full, but no waiting and I was in and out in 2 minutes ..

    I happened to hear the CT SoS on the radio yesterday talking about required ID, and she mentioned that a credit card is adequate if you're on the rolls .. so I whipped out my Amex card and handed it to the guy, he peered at it and matched my name but didn't even verify is was signed ..

    "Electronic media creates reality" - Meatball Fulton

    by zeke7237 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:38:24 AM PST

  •  Voted at Noon (3+ / 0-)

    in Perkiomen, PA. Wait was about 10minutes. When asked for ID said I didn't have it or need it. Our voting place is split into 2precincts and i was the 832nd person to vote in my precinct. Turnout is high in Phila suburbs. I am in Montgomery County which went blue in2008.....though my district 147 was deep red.

    I'm pissed off more people aren't pissed off...

    by rofodem on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:41:18 AM PST

  •  minneapolis, mn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    steady stream of voters, all races & ages, but no waiting (there were at least 20 voting "stations," where you actually filled in the little bubbles with your black pen), and just one counting machine.
    everyone (poll workers and voters) polite, friendly, and in good spirits.
    I love Minneapolis!

  •  midtown KCMO here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom, billlaurelMD

    heavily Democratic area. Walked right in and voted at about noon. There were a lot of people there for that time of day compared to past cycles (I always try to vote around lunch time), but it looked like everything was going smoothly.

    The Republican candidate for State House apparently was standing outside of the polling place and wanted to talk, but I blew him off, and he was gone by the time I came back out....I think I saw the same guy standing outside the supermarket last week. Part of me wanted to find something to argue about with him and waste his time, but I think I did the right thing by just ignoring him....I have a temper and a foul mouth, it's probably better for me just to stay out of it.

    Views Differ On Shape Of Planet

    by nota bene on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:51:52 AM PST

  •  Early vote in Durham, NC - no wait (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    We walked in the public library and only waited a matter of seconds before telling the poll worker my name & address, which is all that's required in NC - for now.

    48% of Durham voters voted during early voting. I'm hoping for another 48% today - Durham is one of the bluest NC counties.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 11:59:19 AM PST

  •  just walked in open machines in MD (0+ / 0-)

    I went at 2 pm so that's probably why. The woman said in the morning they were swamped.

  •  It's always empty around that time. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Honestly they could open the polls in most of Central PA from 6:00-9:00 AM and 5:00-8:00 PM and we'd be fine.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 12:07:33 PM PST

  •  Cabin John, MD - 1.5 hours (n/t) (0+ / 0-)
  •  Near Herndon, VA--75 minutes (0+ / 0-)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 12:15:19 PM PST

  •  37 years. (0+ / 0-)

    I just got off death row.

  •  I voted by mail in FL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    so my wait time was zero.  ;)

  •  Wilmington DE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    2 minute wait at 8:30am

  •  Albany NY - no wait (0+ / 0-)

    nobody ahead of me on line. Cheerful workers. First year without voting machines so I just had to do the scanner correctly

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

    by betson08 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 12:54:41 PM PST

  •  Just got back from voting (0+ / 0-)

    took about 5 mins I let my wife and son vote first 3 votes for Obama in PA

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