On Election Day, Lines for Polls, Gas, and Blankets

photo(24)Suzanne Rozdeba Line stretching from Theater for the New City
photo(29)Sanna Chu Gas line at Mobil on East Houston.

There were lines on the eastern end of Houston Street this Election Day morning – but not to vote. At the Mobil Station at the corner of Avenue C, 60 cars and 20 pedestrians lined up for gas; a motorist said he had waited 40 minutes to fill up his car. Across the street at Hamilton Fish Park, about 120 people waited for food, water, and blankets being distributed by the city. Those at the front of the line said they had been waiting for two hours.

But at the poll site a block over at P.S. 188, at 442 East Houston Street, only a few dozen people were seen in the auditorium, and not a line was in sight.

At the flooded Bard High School Early College at 525 East Houston Street, a police officer estimated that between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., he had told about 90 voters that their site had been moved to P.S. 188. At the relocated site, there was confusion early in the morning, since the school’s doors were closed; David Iglesia, a polling clerk, said that around 7 a.m. he volunteered to open the door and guard it.

polling Line at Sirovich Center.

Turnout was heavier at Theater for the New City and other locations around the neighborhood. At 10:30 a.m., a line of about 85 people stretched down First Avenue and around onto East Ninth Street. There, voters reported waits of over an hour. Daniel Simon, an East Village resident, said he arrived at 9:32 a.m. and didn’t mark his ballot until 10:51 a.m. – in part because two of the three machines were broken when he first arrived (they were eventually fixed).

“One cop said to me, ‘These are like the gas lines,’” said Mr. Simon. Still, he added, “Most people on line were pretty chill except for one lady who was complaining, ‘Oh my God, the line is so long.’”

Harya Tarekegu, 25, an East Village resident and law school student, said she got to Theater for the New City around 9:30 a.m. and didn’t vote till around 11 a.m. She agreed things went smoothly, except for “one lady who said, ‘Can we cut all the chit chat?’”

“I thought it was a good turnout, especially with the storm last week and people still dealing with disaster,” she said.

photo(30)Sanna ChuLine for supplies at Hamilton Fish.

Her friend and fellow East Village resident, Mahlet Seyoum, 24, said she expected long lines, since Governor Cuomo gave New Yorkers in disaster areas permission to vote by affidavit at any site. “There were a lot of people voting with the affidavits, but I think it’s great they came out to vote,” she said.

Karen Faber, an East Villager resident, said she arrived at the Village View poll site around 9 a.m. and waited for half an hour in a line of about 40 people. “When I got there, the line was already outside the door and going around the corner,” she said. “Inside it was pretty organized – everything was working.”

Susan Howard, a Lower East Side resident, said she waited about 45 minutes to vote at P.S. 20, the Anna Silver School.

At the JASA Evelyn and Louis Green Residence at 200 East Fifth Street, about 40 people were on line around noon today.

Earlier today, a voter at the Sirovich Senior Center, reported a wait of 55 minutes.

Have you voted today? How was it? Tip off your fellow voters in the comments.