It has been a long, tiresome journey, but we finally made it. The rallies have been held, the campaign swag has been purchased, the political ads have run. All that’s left to do, finally, is vote.
But voting is sometimes easier said than done. Election day can offer a rallying boost of patriotic spirit or a depressing dive into a bottomless pit of bureaucracy—or in my case today, both.
This is the scene that greeted me when I went to vote in my neighborhood of Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn, at 9:45 am this morning (Nov. 8). :
After waiting in that insane line for over two hours, I cast my ballot for the next president of the United States.
New York is a solid blue state (FiveThirtyEight currently gives NY a 99.8% chance of going Democratic), but looking at that line of voters snaking around three city blocks, you’d think I lived in a swing state. (To be fair, I think some of the voting machines were broken at my polling place, which explains some of the wait.)
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is working-class family neighborhood, with a median yearly household income of under $50,000, according to the most recent US census. For working people and parents, taking two hours out of your day to vote is no small task.
If this is the scene in New York City, where there’s little doubt of the outcome, I can’t imagine what voting looks like at polling places in North Carolina or Ohio. Maybe we don’t have to worry so much about voter turnout after all.
Yes, it was very frustrating to wait over two hours to perform the most basic and fundamental right of democracy, but it was also pretty inspiring. Everyone in line was excited to vote—even after this frustrating election season, and on a chilly fall morning. A father and son handed out Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins to anyone who wanted them. A 92-year-old woman told me she was voting for the first time ever in her life.
There has been much talk this election cycle about voter suppression and election-rigging conspiracies, and hand-wringing about voter apathy and a broken political system. But seeing the people of my neighborhood patiently waiting to cast their votes left me feeling hopeful for the future of democracy.