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.