Americans had one commonality on Tuesday, November 6, as they got a chance to pick the next president who will lead the country over the next four years.
The most asked question was: did you vote today? And it didn’t matter who they voted for, many came out to proudly cast their ballots.
Elizabeth Wager, who voted at P.S 226, 6006 23rd Avenue, said, “As a woman, it’s important to vote; we fought long and hard to get here. It’s a big election. There are a lot of issues that need to be sorted out and in this horrible economy, we need to find ways to fix it.”
First-time voter, Mandy Z., agreed. The 21 year-old was excited to be participating in this year’s election. “I have no right to complain later on, if I did nothing about it,” she stated.
“It was easy,” said first-time voter, Alana Tyson, 33, of Red Hook, where hundreds of displaced residents whose homes remain flooded, unheated and without power, gathered at their new poll site inside P.S. 27 at 27 Huntington Street.
“It made me feel very good [to vote],” agreed long time resident Zenobia Lassiter, who trekked over from her daughter’s house in Woodlawn, Queens, just to vote. “I did it in 15 minutes and saw four people in wheelchairs, some with oxygen tanks, who were determined to vote.”
Back in Bensonhurst, at P.S 247, 7000 21st Avenue, Julianna Ruriani, an accountant, stood in a reasonably short line, voicing her beliefs.
“America used to be number one,” Ruriani said. “I wish it was the way it was again.”
Two little faces stared up at their dad, who also waited in line to vote at the same poll site. “My parents always taught me to vote, and I feel the same way, which is why today I brought my 10 and eight-year-old with me,” Mike Campanella noted.
Voting since the age of 18, he commented on the importance of voting. “You can’t complain [later] if you don’t make a decision [now].”
“I voted,” said Kay Calabrese on her way out. “It’s a privilege and my right; I’ve never missed an election.”
But, not everyone was jolly about coming out to vote. Voting was a challenge at some locations. At P.S. 226, 79-year-old Evonne Bruno, said her poll site was “instant chaos.”
“It’s disgusting. It’s confusing. Used to be five minutes; we never stood like this,” Bruno remarked. Problems, such as long waits, and long lines, arose. “I’ve voted all my life. It’s been marvelous, until now. The voting booths provide no privacy.”
At Shore Hill, Shore Road and 91st Street, voters were encouraged to come back later because of long lines to cast a ballot. “I didn’t vote yet,” said Bill F. from Bay Ridge.
“This is my third time coming,” the dedicated voter said. “The line was moving very slowly. I’ll come back around 8:30 p.m., and then I’ll hit the working class.”
Poll worker, Caroline Mickelsen, spoke about the problems at this poll site. “We didn’t get a lot of supplies. At primary we had four tables, we have two now. This place was three times what it is now this morning.”
Patricia Raffaniello , who waited 50 minutes, concurred. “There should be officials circulating. Other voters had to help people to fill out ballots.
“It’s so inefficient,” she repeated. “[There should be] more supervisors [poll workers] who could read,” she said.
“It’s chaotic,” poll worker, Arthur Poggi, said. “There’s a lot of voters coming in and learning their jobs.”
The two-hour wait almost discouraged some to leave. “The line was horrendous,” Marie K. said about the situation. “I almost left twice. Even the poll workers volunteering said that this is the worst place they’ve volunteered at.”
But, other neighborhoods saw even longer lines. By mid-afternoon, the wait to vote at P.S. 152 in Flatbush was nearly three hours. “This is torture,” one waiting voter texted this magazine.
Reporting contributed by Heather J. Chin.