Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How's your polling place?

I voted at the Latin American Youth Center at 1419 Columbia Rd NW today at about 10:30 am. The line was pretty long, at least half way to 15th Street, but I got in quickly thanks to having a last name from U-Z. I passed probably a few hundred people on the sidewalk and snaking into the building. When I was done, the voting machines I saw totaled about 800 votes. There may have been others I didn't see though, plus the touch screen.

One weird thing was that a man tried to vote write-in on the touch screen machine, but couldn't figure it out. The voting staff told him he couldn't do write-in on the touch screen, and would have to start over with a paper ballot. However, on page 5 of the DC Voter Guide, it specifically says you can vote write-in on the touchscreen - it says "to vote for a candidate not listed, touch 'write-in' and a keyboard will appear." So that's odd.

Folks outside were selling coffee and donuts to benefit the center, and the line continued a long ways into the building. In total, I finished in about 30 minutes.

What were your experiences voting?


  1. My polling place was at Powell Elementary at 14th and Upshur st NW. I thought that if I got there early I wouldn't have to wait so long. altogether it wasn't so bad really. It took perhaps only about 20 minutes longer than last general election. Had my surname's initial fell between E-G I would have been outta there in 5 mins! Fortunately once I got inside the WARM assembly hall I got processed quickly in the S-Z line.

    All together was in and out of there in under an hour. Had I arrived at 9:20am without making an effort to get up early to vote, I could have walked right in and voted in 15 minutes! Seems like most of the morning crowd were folks just wanting to vote before heading into work at their usual arrival time.

    There was only one touchscreen and a little line to use it so paper ballot was the faster way to vote.

    All together the process was smooth and the overall mood at Powell was very congenial. It's really the one time I actually get to see some of my neighbors. And it's nice to see the same friendly, little old women working the polling stations year after year.

    I'm not sure if it's because of the historical significance of this election or if it's a testament to gentrification but the voter turnout this time was a whole lot more diverse than in previous elections! A lotta young professionals and families with young children.

  2. My polling place was on Connecticut and Calvert in Woodley.

    The thing that I found concerning were all the pencils at the polling booths that read "Write in CAROL SCHWARTZ" on them.

    Isn't this outrageous? Has anyone else seen this?

  3. Apparently it would have been better to wait --I was in line at 7:30 to vote at the Latin American Youth Center, but it took almost two hours. When I joined, the line was all the way down Columbia Road and around the corner on 15th. It still stretched at least half way down Columbia when I finished.

    The Carol Schwartz pencils were being passed out in line. . .people probably just brought them in and left them.

  4. I voted at the church over on 16th & Oak. I got in line at 7:30 am and the whole thing took about 1.5 hours! Jim Grahm stopped by to shake hands and was stunned by the turn out.

  5. OH MAN! I voted at the Latin American Youth Center too, but I got in line at 10:00. Clearly I should have waited another half hour, and got in line when you did, because it took an hour for me to get through!!!
    Also, they REALLY need more space, that place was beyond crazy with people on top of one another trying to get from each line to the next:
    1) Wait in general line
    2) Find your name, wait in that line.
    3) Get your little card, wait in the get the ballot line.
    4) Hold your ballot and wait in the ballot box line
    5) VOTE
    6) Wait in the turn in your ballot line.
    7) Wait in the exiting the building line.

    Seriously, WTF??? Also, please note, that none of these were really "lines" but were more mobs due to lack of room. This system would be fine in a larger space like a cafeteria or school gym. But with that set up, it was absurd.

  6. Didn't vote today for a few reasons: a) I'm not registered, b) upon inspection of the last 40yrs of presidential elections in DC, the lowest the Democratic candidate received was 78% (basically the bluest voting bloc in the US), c) DC has no representation in Congress, d) as for local reps; I don't a) own property, b) have kids (local voting tends to be about schools and prop. taxes. I guess I feel a vote in DC is pretty pointless no matter how much you can convince me it's a right/privilege. Just my 2 cents.

  7. Your part about the President is valid, but the local government spots make a big difference in the neighborhood - ANC and council.

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  9. I voted at the baptist Church on 13th and Monroe. I walked by with my dog around 6:15 and there were already people in line so I came around the corner at 6:30. Got my free Starbucks and was on the metro by 7:30. With arriving early I waited maybe half an hour or 40 minutes.

    ALTHOUGH, I thought the atmosphere was not conducive to voting at all. It was loud, there was no privacy while you were voting (and people weren't regulating very well), a girl was taking video with her cell phone inside the polling location (which has to be illegal somehow) and I saw a woman put two ballots in.....was not pleased to see that. I know it is DC and it is very blue, but lets get serious, people!

    Also, I wanted to add a bit to my post so I deleted my original, so that was me!

  10. My polling place was at the elementary school at Georgia and Irving. I waited until about 4:30 to head over and there was a small but short line. There was one person ahead of me in the check in line and maybe 3 or 4 people ahead of me in the line to pick up the ballot.

    A neighbor on my block worked on the carol schwartz campaign and spent at least 10 min trying to talk her up to me a week ago. Yesterday at 6AM her daughter and grandchildren sat on the front porch, waking up the neighbors and making insinuations that we are staunch white republicans (we aren't in the least) when confronted about the noise. They happened to be handing out the flyers and pencils when we arrived to vote but thankfully the peace was kept and no exchange was made.

    The only other thing I noticed was the lack of privacy in the voting area. The stands were as such that you couldn't see your neighbor, but as Jill stated, who moved around where was not regulated.

  11. I walked to the Latin American Youth Center at 1419 Columbia Rd NW at around 7:15 am. Line was all the way to 15th street, so I passed. Went back around 2 in the afternoon, and just about 5 people in line ahead of me. Took no time at all. Glad my job was flexible enough to come back in the afternoon!


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