Your Voting Experience:
My voting experience this morning went very smoothly. A few volunteers gave a second-look at the campaign buttons on my lapel to make sure I could wear them inside the polling place (it was almost like mine was the first "Willkie for President" button they had seen that morning). I had the choice of voting electronically or by paper ballot: I opted for electronic, figuring that if the computer was rigged, it was rigged the right way anyway. Finally, given that the local school board nominees ran unopposed, I decided to follow the wisdom of David B's wife (and David, too) and write in "David Bernstein."

  How was your voting experience?
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Does that mean I can wear a Taft in '08 button? It would go with my "McKinley-Roosevelt 'OO, Leadership for a New Century" bumpersticker from a few years back.

11.4.2008 11:01am
Voting was very smooth, but with a 1 hour line. I'm not particularly fond of my congressman or his opponent, so I wrote you in for the VA-10 congressional race. I'm pretty sure the incumbent is going to beat you.

Some guy in the polling place was wearing a "Mavericks" jacket, which I'm guessing was a subtle attempt to wear a pro-McCain item in the polling place, but it's possible he's merely a fan of the Dallas NBA franchise.
11.4.2008 11:02am
Dixie Yid (mail) (www):
Voting was smooth here in Nassau county NY as well. I only waited about 4 minutes. I met a lady-client at the law office I work in as well who wore an Obama t-shirt to vote it, but wore a button-able sweater over it so she could cover it up while she actually did the deed.

-Dixie Yid
11.4.2008 11:04am
I'm not going to vote, so don't have a tale to tell, but I find it odd that they restrict voters from wearing buttons. I understand why, but I think it's a bad idea.
11.4.2008 11:05am
Jestak (mail):
I live in the state of Washington, so my voting experience was simply dropping a ballot into a mail box. No hassle whatever.
11.4.2008 11:06am
Ezra H (mail) (www):
we (my wife and I) got in line about 5:40, and finished voting about one hour later. An Obamacon was passing out "sample ballots" with any non-democrats shaded over. A much older, calmer McCainiac manned a table with stickers and signs.

When we left, the line was significantly longer.
11.4.2008 11:07am
Pon Raul (mail):
Long line in downtown Minneapolis.
11.4.2008 11:08am
SMatthewStolte (mail):
I had to walk past two Obama-Biden for President signs to get to my polling place. If they haven't removed them, they are close enough that a long line of voters could reach them.

Otherwise, it was smooth.
11.4.2008 11:16am
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
Mailed it in Friday. Why does anyone vote in person any more?
11.4.2008 11:16am
Ben Brumfield (mail) (www):
No line at my local elementary school at 9:05 this morning. Coffee, donuts, and kolaches had been provided by the PTA.

The one campaigner outside when I arrived tried to present me a paper opposing Austin's proposition 2, and seemed more relieved than pleased when I told her I was already voting against it. As I left a man was setting up a lot of signs encouraging people to report voting irregularities to him.
11.4.2008 11:17am
Zero line in West Town neighborhood of Chicago. But there was a ballot question about whether Illinoisians want a Constitutional Convention. The ballot wording was so one-sided (basically informing voters that the last time this was tried it was voted down by 3/4 of the voters) that a court ordered the state to provide a separate question. The final ballot couldn't be changed in time.

Of course, none of the judges were remembering to hand out the new question.
11.4.2008 11:25am
anon345 (mail):
Wow! Given David B's amazingly dishonest performance this election season, I wouldn't want him as dogcatcher.
11.4.2008 11:26am
Anderson (mail):
figuring that if the computer was rigged, it was rigged the right way anyway

I get the joke, but this is not quite as funny as one might think.
11.4.2008 11:27am
Larry the Librarian:
Voting was pretty easy in my Manhattan district. There were multiple districts voting in one place, so some confusion. I waited in two lines for about twenty minutes, which is the longest wait I've ever had. (I previously voted in Bergen County, NJ). My wife, who's voted in this precinct before, said she'd never seen it remotely as crowded. My floor has about 20 apartments, I'd guess about 30 voters. There were five of us there in the half-hour I was in the school cafeteria, as was the building's super.

Because of fusion tickets, you can vote for a candidate on one of multiple lines in New York, so I voted for Obama/Biden, Rep. Maloney and our state legislators on the Working Families line, but voted for two of the judges--who had been endorsed by both the Dems and the GOP--on the Republican line, if only to have a little fun. The machines were the ones I remember my parents using, with the little levers and the big red handle. I think I may have used such a machine in '88, as well.

This being Manhattan, mine was not the only polling location near 23rd Street and Third Avenue. I was east of Third, but west of Third there was another location and they had a line out onto the sidewalk. Whether they had higher turnout, equipment problems, or just less room inside, the line there ran from the middle of the block to the corner of Lexington Avenue.

I saw many fewer Obama shirts/stickers/buttons today than on previous days in Manhattan, which I would guess results from New York elections law's not allowing those things in polling places and almost everyone's voting today as there's no meaningful early voting in New York.

There were no "I voted" stickers. There is no Krispy Kreme in my neighborhood, and the line at Starbuck's was too long for a free tall coffee. There's a Ben and Jerry's not far from me, so I may go for my free cone later, but I'll probably skip Toys in Babeland.
11.4.2008 11:32am
cboldt (mail):
Typical for our precinct, lines were short at this time of day (zero people in the line that represents the small district I am in - maybe 30 in the neighboring, larger district - less than 10 minute wait). Free flu shots for those so inclined.
I purposely overvoted one race, to prevent the possibility of a "no vote" being turned into a manufactured vote in the unlikely event of a hand count. The machine rejects ballots that are marked that way, so I got to chat a bit with the town clerk who used key override to enter my ballot in the counting machine. Next time I'll write-in "No-Vote" to avoid that, even though it wasn't a hassle at all. Checked to make sure the better half's absentee ballot had been received, it had.
11.4.2008 11:32am
Voted in a suburban area near Houston, Texas on Friday evening. Wife and I waited over an hour to vote. Probably 30% of those in line were in the "30 and under" group.

Voted using "electronic voting dealies" - but not touch-screen - without problem.

Being that we were in Texas, there were no reps for either presidential candidate. The local school board nominees were out in force, along with a group urging us to "keep our judges conservative."
11.4.2008 11:34am
Short, 10 minute line in River North area of Chicago at 7 am (the news showed a massive line in Hyde Park where Obama, Ayers, and Farrakhan voted). Unlike in josh's area, the personnel where I voted did have the separate fliers regarding the constitutional convention. Unsurprisingly, not a lot of Republicans on the ballot for local races. During the process, my overwhelming thought was Churchill's line about (paraphrasing) "It is said that democracy is the worst of all governments, except for those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Also, probably worth noting the voting was done with paper ballots where the physical vote was recorded by using a pen to fill in an empty space in the middle of an arrow.
11.4.2008 11:36am
U.Va. Grad:
Long line in downtown Minneapolis.

Seconded. Smooth process, but a long, long wait.
11.4.2008 11:40am
Alex B:
Voting easy in PA but large turnout. My wife who voted by absentee ballot could also have voted in person, as could my daughter who has lived in Chicago for 4 years.
11.4.2008 11:41am
Norman Bates (mail):
One thing Massachusetts does right is voting. I live in an inner suburb of Boston, Usually I vote just after coming home from work and spend about ten minutes in line. Today I had the advantage of voting off-peak and was in and out within five minutes. Most of Massachusetts uses optical scan voting devices which IMHO provide the optimum combination of ease, simplicity, rapid tabulation, and fraud resistance.

There were three state-wide initiatives of interest to libertarians for all of which I toed the "party line": (1) to abolish the state income tax; (2) to decriminalize possession of under an ounce of marijuana; (3) to abolish greyhound racing in the Commonwealth.

I also did a civic good deed by helping a new neighbor find her way to the polls even though I suspect her presidential vote cancelled mine.
11.4.2008 11:41am
Midnight Rambler:
Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey- a Blue town of 18,000 in a very Red county in a very, very Blue state!

I voted at 6am, as usual. Rather than being the first in line outside the polling station, I was like the 11th or 12th. They moved the voting booths to a different part of the grade school in our district. Rather than having them in an auditorium right near the front doors, the polls were located near the back of the building, through a long, snaking corridor. Only reason I could see for such a move was that it'd be easier to control long lines of voters today.

Barr for President, Republican Dick Zimmer for Senate and Republican incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen for House of Reps.
11.4.2008 11:44am
Jonathan H. Adler (mail) (www):
Just voted. No line at all at 11:15am (though I heard there were lines earlier this morning).

Our ballot is long -- three pages of a legal-size optical scan sheets -- largely due to lots of local races and five ballot initiatives. Seven candidates qualified for President on the ballot, including a Socialist Party candidate and some Duncan guy with no party affiliation listed. The libertarians fielded candidates in all the big races, including state AG and U.S. House.

While I live in a fairly Red community, I was surprised there were not more Democratic volunteers handing out literature, sample ballots, etc., particularly because Democrats have done well in local races around here. There was one Democratic volunteer holding a sign for a local official who's now running for state rep, but that was it. The Republicans, on the other hand, had several folks handing out sample ballots. This can be important in Ohio because party affiliations are not listed on the ballot for most local offices.

11.4.2008 11:45am
Thales (mail) (www):
Early voted in Chicago on Thursday. The line was an hour and a half long about 5 minutes after the polls opened. On the plus side, the machines were very efficient and easy to understand--ATM style touch screen with a review/confirmation process and a printed paper receipt (kept in the machine, but you could view it before you left). As we have the longest ballot in the U.S. in Cook County, because all of the local judges are up for retention elections, I'd say this was a pretty reasonable pace.
11.4.2008 11:51am
2-hour wait here in NW Washington DC, not because of the number of voters, but because the octogenarian volunteers working the longest lines (last names H-L and M-R) took on the order of two to three minutes to locate each voter, sign him or her in, and produce the card that one exchanges for a ballot. The younger A-C and D-G volunteers whisked people through, so other volunteers brought A-G voters through multiple times. People with last names A-G probably had a 30 minute wait to my 2 hours.
11.4.2008 11:53am
Kevin R (mail):
Voting was very smooth, but with a 1 hour line. I'm not particularly fond of my congressman or his opponent, so I wrote you in for the VA-10 congressional race. I'm pretty sure the incumbent is going to beat you.

Voted in the VA-10 district also, though I voted for Rep. Wolf. I did not realize Orin was running, or I would have voted for him instead.

Was offered the choice of electronic or paper -- electronic had a waiting line, paper did not, so I went with paper. My wife voted earlier (around 7:30AM probably) and said there were long lines; when I was there at 9:00 I could walk right up.

Was handed a sample ballot by both Republicans and Democrats. We had president/senator/representative, and then four local tax and bond issues. The Republicans took a 'no' position on one of the taxes, and no preference on the others; the Democrats took no position on any of them.
11.4.2008 11:54am
A Law Dawg:
I wrote in "Sacastro" for the local coroner election. Seems his style.
11.4.2008 11:58am
Modus Ponens:
Short but slow line in Queens at 6 a.m. as poll workers checked everyone's IDs without reference to whether voters had registered by mail or in person.

Election Watch volunteers stood idly by.
11.4.2008 12:00pm

Kent Scheidegger:
Mailed it in Friday. Why does anyone vote in person any more?

Because our state doesn't allow it (unless you think lying to get an absentee ballot is acceptable).
11.4.2008 12:02pm
Uncle Fester (mail):
Orange County NY 55 miles north of NYC. 10AM. Two minutes, 28 seconds in and out.
11.4.2008 12:03pm
A Law Dawg:
Short but slow line in Queens at 6 a.m. as poll workers checked everyone's IDs without reference to whether voters had registered by mail or in person.

Election Watch volunteers stood idly by.

I feel like I am missing something. What should the volunteers have noticed?
11.4.2008 12:04pm
lucia (mail) (www):
For the first time since I moved to DuPage county, I had to stand behind someone in the k-m line. (My husband had to stand behind two people in the same k-m line. :) )

We voted around 6:30 am, and as you can guess based on the existence of a k-m line, the polling place was well staffed. There were enough staff members to ensure the slower workers took the appropriate job: Handing out the "I voted" stickers and collecting felt pens.

I'm guessing that DuPage is doing their all to get their votes in. I'll be watching the news to see how Chicago does. I wonder of any ballots will get wet this year?
11.4.2008 12:04pm
Modus Ponens:
A Law Dog:

See, e.g., this page, under the heading "ID Needed for Voting."

Granted, no one was turned away for failing to show ID while I was there, but it was early.
11.4.2008 12:08pm
JamesInSeattle (mail):
Like just about everyone else here in Washington, mailed in my ballot a week ago.

Talk of lines is just bizarre. This isn't the Soviet Union; why do people put up with this sort of thing? Lines to vote are just an absurd relic of the past.
11.4.2008 12:10pm
early bird (mail):
I voted here in Bloomington, IN (where I attend Wilkie's law school) a couple of weeks ago. (I only wish I had a Debs '08 button.) I waited about twenty minutes, but I think I was at the only early voting location in the county, so not bad. I'm thirty, but I think I was the youngest person in the line, by quite a bit.
11.4.2008 12:10pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
My voting experience was pretty good. 57 minutes, and they allowed this cripple to sit at a couple tables waiting for my step-daughters to go through the lines and I'd get in line when they were at the front.

OTOH, one of my step-daughters had a bad time. She registered motor-voter and has voted about 9 times the last three years with no problem including three time earlier this year (Presidential preference, real primary, primary runoff). She has an apostrophe in her last name. The apostrophe is on her driver license. The apostrophe was on the printout of all precinct registered voters at the first checkpoint. But it wasn't in the state computer at the second checkpoint. 25 minutes at the second checkpoint (which stopped one of the two lines for 25 minutes), they were processing a provisional ballot till eventually they found her in the state computer without the apostrophe. That same state computer had the apostrophe the three previous elections this year. Maybe Georgia is supressing Irish voters?

BTW, O'Steen is not Irish. Genealogist think that the original O'Steen was probably Jewish or at least from the Holy Lands. Osteen is a Dutch name for easterner, and was the name given to those going shipboard on Dutch vessels in the Mediterranean. The original O'Steen seems to be from one such ship crewmember that got on at Majorca and debarked in Florida, who then signed up to work for an Irish farmer who added the apostrophe. Supposedly all O'Steens can trace themselves to that crewmember.
11.4.2008 12:11pm
ody (mail):
I voted at the local library in Asheville, NC and I am a little upset by the experience. First of all, no one even checked my ID. I just find that wrong. I gave them an address and they let me vote. They were also doing plenty of same day voter registration.

Second, there was a long narrow hallway right before entering the actual voting area. As we waited in the hallway to vote there really isn't much to do. However, the library moved a lot of bookshelves into the hallway. (The last time I was in the library I do not recall there being any book shelves in this hallway.) What I found disturbing was all typical anti-Bush books that were prominently on display. There were other books with suggestive titles like "Liar" and liberal magazine discussing various topics like Healthcare and the Environment.
11.4.2008 12:15pm
Lots of commie, excuse me, D voters in my area in Andersonville on the northside of Chicago. I overheard one of the workers say that her guess was that over 50% of registered voters in our precinct had voted by 10am. The machine tally was 177 votes. It took about 40 minutes but there was a long line as of 10am when I left. As mentioned on another thread, the final vote count in Illinois will be Obama 4,500,000 and McCain 1- me.
11.4.2008 12:17pm
> Lines to vote are just an absurd relic of the past.

The point of a secret ballot is to make it impossible to sell your vote -- which makes it impossible for someone to compel your vote. And your physical presence at a polling place, among your neighbors, is a protection against identity fraud.

Mail-in ballots defeat all these points. What if your manager or union steward or spouse insists on seeing and mailing your ballot? What's to stop you from registering a few extra people at your address and mailing in those ballots?

Mail-in ballots are not secret. And secret ballots aren't anachronistic - they are a key foundation of democracy.
11.4.2008 12:19pm
... Not that I'm a big fan of democracy.

It may not be the best system, but it's better than what we've got.
11.4.2008 12:20pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Voted two weeks ago, in Sarasota, taking advantage of Florida's early voting. There was a 30-minute line to get to the voting stations. (Hint: Always bring something to read!)Positive photo ID and address verification were required--and checked via computer--by poll workers.

In the first week of October, sample ballots were mailed to all registered voters. There was plenty of time to do research on issues and individuals if one wished.

Partisan workers and their signs were kept the statutory 100 feet from the entrance to the polling station. Tons of signs, no loudspeakers, police in the adjacent parking lot (got a spot on my first run through the lot).

The ballot was a single, two-sided sheet, with offices on one side and constitutional amendments on the other. Ovals were positioned to the left of the candidates' names or /Yes/No on the amendments. Filling in the ovals, as in an SAT exam, was pretty uncomplicated.

The completed ballot was put into a privacy envelope that left the top exposed. That end was fed into an optical scanner (a single one for six balloting stations). The scanner looked like either a copy machine or a shredder, depending on one's level of cynicism.

FL law permits voters to wear candidate identification like button or T-shirts, so this was a non-issue. No one in my line wore any such ID, however.

There were prominent signs warning that cell phones were to be turned off and that no photography was allowed.

Voted a straight Republican ticket, excepting the non-partisan votes for retention of a Supreme Ct. Justice and four appellate judges. Sarasota is a (shrinkingly) marginal Republican county; so far the Republican office holders have avoided scandal and done a reasonable job. One might attribute this to Katherine Harris' departure from the political scene back in 2004, but that would be harsh.
11.4.2008 12:25pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"Mail-in ballots are not secret."

How are they any less secret than ballots cast at a polling place-? Security can be established with voter registration process and signatures on ballots as in Oregon. Fraud is actually harder than when voting in person, since the signatures can be compared against those on the registration rolls.
11.4.2008 12:27pm
Another VA-10 voter here. It took about half an hour from the time I left home until the time I arrived back. Very smooth, very organized.
11.4.2008 12:34pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
About 50% more people in line than in 2004 and it took just under a hour, as compared to forty minutes before. Several chairs along the way and my friend brought her own chair. All in all, very smooth. Asked for ID for the first time in 20 years, if ever.
11.4.2008 12:38pm
I voted absentee, so of course Mickey Mouse filled out the first side of the ballot and Tony Romo filled out the other. Then the dean of my law school dropped by, just to make sure I was filling out all seven of my fraudulent ballots correctly. Of course, we let my cat make the choices on the ballot corresponding to the cat's voter registration, even though the cat voted for Dino Rossi. I just hope the cat's signature on the ballot is different enough from her signature on the voter registration card that her vote won't count.
11.4.2008 12:39pm
The line was not too long, but I had to wait because the man in front of me
had recently moved and his current address did not match his address on his
sample ballot or the election official list. He argued aggressively that he did not
want a provisional ballot, and they let him vote with a regular ballot. I assume he could have simply lied about his current address and voted with no problem also. Polling spots opened up but I, and the long line behind me, had to wait until they were done with him.
11.4.2008 12:44pm
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
Thank God California has no-excuse absentee voting. It's about time all states implemented it. I'm a political junkie and I would never bother voting if I had to stand in line.
11.4.2008 12:49pm
gasman (mail):
"Mail-in ballots are not secret."
Yeah, so? Nothing in the constitution about secrecy of balloting.
Why shouldn't we have open ballots?
11.4.2008 1:10pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
No line, no hassle. But then I'm in Novato, CA, and something like three-quarters of the voters in my precinct are permanent absentee — er, "vote-by-mail" voters.

I can't agree with "Festooned" just above. I would take a little waiting in line in exchange for seeing my neighbors expend a tiny effort every so often to participate in the political process.
11.4.2008 1:16pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
my voting location is in one of the bemoaned low income sections of LA County (east LA). there were no lines at 8 am (probably bc of the rain earlier this morning, LA County doesn't do rain). when i got to work in west la, however, i had passed several polling locations with lines several blocks long.

and now with lines i saw in mind i am going to attempt a bad pun (that may have been made elsewhere, but i haven't seen it and i apologize)....

i guess the voters in west la really were the ones they have been waiting for! HEY-OH!
11.4.2008 1:18pm
JoshL (mail):
Another NYC voter here. Smooth voting, but an hour wait (got in line at 6:25AM). This was on the UWS at PS163. The line stretched from Amsterdam to Columbus on 97th, turned up Columbus at 97th and then kept going to about 99th. They eventually turned the line back on itself to keep it from going too far.
11.4.2008 1:24pm
Doug Sundseth (mail):
Voted last week at an early-vote location in Colorado. There were no lines and perhaps eight times as many voting booths as voters. The only glitch was a poll worker telling me that the Secretary of State had decreed that there were to be no electronics in the polling area, so I couldn't bring my IPod Shuffle (!) in. (Perhaps they were worried that the voices in my head would not follow the approved party line.)

FWIW, I didn't leave my watch or my car-lock remote in my car. I hope that doesn't mean that my vote will be invalidated.
11.4.2008 1:30pm
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
I would take a little waiting in line in exchange for seeing my neighbors expend a tiny effort every so often to participate in the political process.

Michelle, you yourself said that you had no line due to the large number of absentee voters. You might be singing a different tune if you lived in a state whose lack of no-excuse absentee voting required you to wait in line for multiples of hours. Further, I don't think an hour or more could be characterized as "a little" waiting in line. Finally, absentee voters also "expend a tiny effort" simply by filling out their ballot.
11.4.2008 1:31pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Slightly off-topic, but . . .

Does anyone know how it happens that some precincts have huge lines and others don't? I know that massive lines in poor urban districts are taken as evidence of nefarious vote-suppression shenanigans by some Democrats, but what actually causes them?

Not a rhetorical question, here. I had always assumed that voting precincts were of roughly equal size, and had roughly equal numbers of voting booths. If that's not so, how much do these numbers differ precinct-to-precinct, and who sets them? And if it is so, is the difference then just a function of how much time the average voter in a particular precinct spends filling out a ballot? Or do precinct-by-precinct variations in voting-machine technology account for enough time per voter to make such a difference?
11.4.2008 1:38pm
I voted at my precinct a around 9:30 a.m. I was never asked for an I.D. of any kind. Then as I was getting to the table to sign in, one of the registrars picked up the sign-in book and walked outside toward the parking lot with another guy.

The rest of us waited a few minutes, then I asked what was going on. The lady at the table said the guy had taken the sign-in book out "to help a handicapped person."

I waited about one more minute, then I went out to find them. The registrar and another guy were in a car, talking. I knocked on the window and asked, "How many people are you voting for?" They both got out of the car and came in without saying a word. The rest of us signed in then and got our ballots. I noticed that no one was asked for an I.D.

Seems that poll workers have a pretty lackadaisical attitude, at least in my precinct. Even so, I'm calling the Registrar's office until I can get through [been trying] to report this. Maybe the Registrar of Voters will issue an angry UN-style reprimand, for what good it will do.
11.4.2008 1:43pm
I took advantage of early voting last week in Texas. In and out in 10 minutes. They really ought to do that everywhere.
11.4.2008 1:56pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
My voting experience was pleasant in the extreme. No lines whatsoever. Helpful, well-informed and affable polling place workers. Loads of parking right outside a modern spacious community center located in a lush suburban park. What a relief from the Third World conditions I always experienced in New York City.

The only thing that spoiled my experience was the ballot itself. Not the physical ballot of course, but the people on it. Ugh!
11.4.2008 2:03pm
Chris Annunziata (www):
I just waited 2 hours 20 minutes here in Atlanta (and I mean within the city limits, not some suburb 40 minutes outside the Perimeter.) Very orderly. There were stories of long pre-dawn lines in my precinct. When we left, the line looked about 45 minutes shorter than the line we joined.
11.4.2008 2:05pm
crane (mail):
My New Jersey suburban precinct has never had much of a line whenever I've voted. I saw a neighbor of mine there today, with her two teenage sons - I think the older one was voting for the first time, and the younger came along to see what it was like.
11.4.2008 2:09pm
Libertarian1 (mail):
I live in a NYC high-rise on the Upper West Side. We vote in the lobby of our building. I deliberately waited until noon to vote. There was absolutely no line whatsoever. I walked up registered and voted. Lever type machine vote. No paper proof of who I voted for.

Because of my Chicago background I always am looking for "voter fraud". The man behind the registration desk was borderline retarded and was only able to ask my name, find it with my help in the book and asked me to sign. No ID request and I could have been anyone or a repeat. I know of someone who died 15 years ago who is still listed. It will make no difference here in NY.
11.4.2008 2:16pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Same as Norman Bates, suburban Boston (the city straddles 128.)
For the first time since I've had kids in school, schools were closed for Election Day. The teachers are all getting in-service training or something. I feared the parking lot would be full (it was, but not that there wouldn't be someplace to park) and I need the exercise so I bicycled. My son, who is a hassle to get to school even on the day after we set the clocks back, was up early and came with me. (I considered voting on the way home, but I didn't want to miss it by some error - that was more important than billing more hours at work.)

I had to wait 30 seconds because the elderly woman for whom I held the door lives on a street with a name in the same part of the alphabet as I, so we were both going to the OZ pollworker while the AN pollworker looked apologetic.

Filled in my ballot. Ran out of write-in names for the local representative to the vocational school district slots. Paper ballot, two-sided, and I double-checked the summaries on the questions. There were plenty of empty carrels. A few more seconds wait to be cleared to hand in my ballot, watched the machine eat it and increment its count, and that was it.

My city of 35,000 has 7 wards with 2 precincts each, and (almost?) each precinct has its own polling place so it's not a madhouse.

I wore my Electoral College T-Shirt. I took an I Voted sticker and I'm wearing them at work even though it's not casual Friday. Now we're all distracted here waiting for the shoe to drop
11.4.2008 2:34pm

Norman Bates (mail):
One thing Massachusetts does right is voting. I live in an inner suburb of Boston, Usually I vote just after coming home from work and spend about ten minutes in line. Today I had the advantage of voting off-peak and was in and out within five minutes. Most of Massachusetts uses optical scan voting devices which IMHO provide the optimum combination of ease, simplicity, rapid tabulation, and fraud resistance.

There were three state-wide initiatives of interest to libertarians for all of which I toed the "party line": (1) to abolish the state income tax; (2) to decriminalize possession of under an ounce of marijuana; (3) to abolish greyhound racing in the Commonwealth.

How is voting to abolish greyhound racing libertarian? Or maybe you just meant for the reader to figure out how you voted as opposed to saying you voted for all of them. Other than that, all was smooth in yet another route 128-straddling town. Most of the 20 voting stalls were occupied most of the time, but there was no line to wait. They must have hired a queueing theory specialist.
11.4.2008 3:02pm
LM (mail):

I decided to follow the wisdom of David B's wife (and David, too) and write in "David Bernstein."

Great minds think alike. Well, minds, anyway.
11.4.2008 3:08pm
Voted this morning in Alexandria, VA. I got in line at 6:13 (polls opened at 6) and walked out at 7:17. Everything ran very smoothly--we use electronic machines with buttons and a wheel thing. Only three things on the ballot--President, Senate, and House--which made it pretty easy. The most unusual thing, and the highlight of my morning, was when I was rolling out of bed and heard cheering through my open window. I looked at the clock and realized that the polls had just opened and I could hear the cheers from a mile away. It's a privilege to participate in the democratic process, no matter how long I have to stand in line and no matter whether my vote "counts."
11.4.2008 3:27pm
The polls open here at 7am. My wife and I always vote at 7 and go on to our jobs. We have never had to wait to vote including in 2004.

We got to the polls at 10 to 7, and didn't actually vote until 7:30. The district is educated and the line moved quickly, but there was one heck of a lot of voters. It was a big line.
11.4.2008 3:32pm
Kent Scheidegger (mail) (www):
Aultimer, thanks for the explanation. We have had "permanent absentee" voting available to everyone for many years in California, and I was not aware other states did not. What state are you in?
11.4.2008 3:32pm
How are they any less secret than ballots cast at a polling place-?

With mail-in or drop off ballots your employer or shop steward will order you to bring him the ballot and he will fill it in himself. Michigan allows mail-in only if you swear you are outside the polling area on the day of the election or are over 60.

The assumption is that any 60yo has retired from the plants (correctly, I think) and is exempt from that sort of order from the union or manager.
11.4.2008 3:37pm
Jeff Lebowski (mail):
Southeast side of Indianapolis. I got to the poll site at 5:55 AM EST (5 minutes before the polls opened), and the line was already 80-90 people long.

Three precincts vote in our polling location. Mine is the smallest of the three. When I started to get closer to the door, a gentleman was asking each voter which precinct they lived. When I told him mine, I got to move to a much shorter line. Show my ID (remember, we're the state that gave you Crawford vs. Marion County Election Board and Indiana Democratic Party vs. Rokita, Secretay of State), sign the poll book, fill out the ballot, load it into the scanning machine, and go on my merry way. As I said, 45 minutes total, and I made it to work on time.

I figured turnout would be pretty heavy in my area, and I was right. I lived on a different side of town in 2004, so I won't compare turnout. Besides, that was 4 years ago.
11.4.2008 3:41pm
Fedya (www):
Working from home, I left the house around 11:00 to make the 3/4-mile walk to the polling place in my small town (~500 registered voters, only one polling place at the town hall). I ended up behind one person on line, with one other actually in the voting booth. I passed the mailman on the way down to the town hall, so I picked up the mail on the way home, and was home at 11:50.

It was a much better experience than the GDF taped campaign calls I've been getting the past week. I want to throttle the necks of the people who approve those calls.
11.4.2008 3:49pm
Kent Scheidegger - Pennsylvania.
11.4.2008 4:56pm
Lucius Cornelius:
My girlfriend and I walked over to our polling place in downtown Columbus, Ohio arriving at about 6:20am. The polls were scheduled to open at 6:30am. There were about 100 people already in line ahead of us and there were some Obama volunteers setting up an operation just outside the prohibition line for political activity.

The doors to the polling place did not open until 6:45am and we moved inside. Once inside, things moved slowly. There were not enough volunteers and they were not deploying themselves effectively...there always seemed to be a few voting machines with no people at them.

They divided the group into two lines: A-J and K-Z. When I was about 10 people from the front of my line, a volunteer brought in a blind voter who was taken to the front of the line. It took them several minutes to get him signed in. Then two volunteers took him to a voting machine and helped him cast his vote.

I finally got to the desk, signed in effortlessly, and was told to go to one of the empty machines. I got there and waited about 5 minutes until one of the polling officials came by with the key to unlock the machine. I cast my vote, then waited for my girlfriend to finish casting hers. We were out the door by 7:20am. As we left, the line was about 200 people long.
11.4.2008 5:21pm
Aaron Pollock (mail):
I decided to walk to the polling station here in Richardson, TX (north of Dallas). When I got there, there was no line, but I discovered that my voter registration card, which I'd had in my back pocket, was missing. That was annoying, but since I could still vote by showing my driver's license, no inconvenience.

What was inconvenient was my subsequent discovery that I was in the wrong precinct; the actual one was a mile or two down the road. Now I was really wishing I had driven instead.

When I got to the other polling place, it was as dead as the previous one had been. I was concerned for a bit that the disparity between my actual address and the one on my DL would be a problem, but it proved not to be.

Voting itself was an optical-scan ballot that brought back memories of high-school testing. According to the scanning machine that accepted my ballot, mine was the 303rd vote recorded.
11.4.2008 6:00pm
Asher (mail):
I voted here at Duke a week ago. There was no wait, though by Thursday there was a long line all day. The student paper did a poll, by the way, a real one, and found that 74% of students here intend to vote for Obama, and 79% of the kids who already have voted voted for Obama.
11.4.2008 6:20pm
Anonymous Hoosier:
Count more NoVa votes for Orin and David. Imagine if y'all had actually staged a write-in campaign -- you might have made it to double digits!

3 minute wait in the mid afternoon.
11.4.2008 7:05pm
just me (mail):
I voted at 3:20ish this afternoon after I got off from work. I think I was at the polls no more than 10 minutes and actually spent a couple of minutes chatting with a friend. From the looks of the voters lists, it appears that there had been a steady stream all day, but voting in my ward is quick and easy.

Check in, get your ballot, go to the little booth, fill it out, check out, send the ballot through the scanner. In years past it would have been drop the ballot in the box.
11.4.2008 7:15pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Went to vote at noon. No line, the line was longer at starbucks. Because I don't show ID (or generally consent to unwarranted searches)they didn't let me vote. What they were supposed to do was give my a provisional ballot.
Then I drove to Chicago to file an appeal about whether provisional votes (like the one I was supposed to be given) will be counted. A few hours later when my roommate went to vote, he was given the provisional ballot.
11.5.2008 12:07pm