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2012 Election Day open thread

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson

After months and months of campaigning, Election Day is finally here. First, we'd like to remind you to go to the polls and vote! Then, we'd like to hear your stories from the polls: what voting was like, if you encountered any difficulties or disruptions, anything else you observed that was of interest. Share your stories with our readers in the comments section below.

Please limit your comments to stories from the polls; we will welcome your predictions and reactions about the election results in another thread we will post this evening.

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Comments (41)

Number of voting stations

I got to my polling place by 6:30 this morning and there were about 20 people in line ahead of me. By the time the polls opened, I'd estimate there were two to three times that many already waiting behind me.

Once inside, there were only 10 voting stations. I won't be there to see, but if the lines hold up throughout the day, I sure hope they'll look into adding voting stations to keep things moving.

As I left I'd guess the line had about 100 people in it.

I Voted at About 7:45 AM

No wait, but it was clear the polling place was fairly active. All the booths were full, but one opened as soon as I needed it.

Poll workers thought the after work hours would likely be the busiest time.

(Alexandria)

When you comment on this thread

Please mention the location of the polling place that you're talking about.  Thanks. 

Very Long Line

Got to Loring School in North Minneapolis about 7:15, waited in line about 45 minutes to vote. I was #152, and there were at least that many people behind me. The set up was mostly efficient, with multiple lines to sign in or register, and about 20 booths/tables. The weak link was having only one person to take the voting receipt and hand out a ballot.

At Ebenezer Towers in south Minneapolis

Just came from voting! As I was marking my ballot I became aware of the many voices all around me, most in languages that I could not understand. It was a moving experience, not just to have the privilege of voting, but to do so in the company of some who might be voting for the first time in the U.S.

Moderate line

I arrived at my polling place (Riverview Early Childhood Center in Brooklyn Park) right about 8 am. The initial registration check was quick, and it appeared that same day registration was going smoothly. The line to take the receipt and get the ballot was fairly long, but the pace of the line kept up with the rate at which booths and tables were open for voting. There was no line to drop the ballot in the machine. We were out at 8:35. If the number of people picks up, which they were expecting this evening, it will probably be far less efficient.

Long lines

At the polling place at Normandale and Popular bridge. Arrived at 7:30 and left at 8:20. Fairly efficient but also had only one person handing out ballots. Totalizer was also acting up, requiring people to enter their ballot more than once. Many young people registering and voting. Can not imagine how much slower it would be with you know what.

Voting at Merriam Park Rec Center

My husband and I arrived at 6:55 am we were about 100th in line. We were so impressed with the organization. Lots of volunteers (both young and seniors) directing voters, some of whom who were pretty confused. The polls were for two voting areas, so one side with polling stations was for Ward 4 and the other side with polling stations for the other ward (sorry, can't recall). Lots of very patient voters.

We were out within 43 minutes. Not bad at all! Especially when I remember reading about other countries where people had to wait 8, 10 even 24 hours IN LINE to vote.

Hayden Heights Rec Center - East St. Paul

Went pretty smoothly this morning a little before 8am. Maybe 10 minutes to check in and get a ballot, and then another 5 minutes of waiting for a booth to open up. It was steady, but not super busy. Everyone was friendly and pleasant.

Minneapolis - First Unitarian Church

We vote at the First Unitarian Church on Mount Curve. (7th Ward, 3rd Precinct.) I arrived just before 7:00 and voted around 7:45, number 113.

Voting was relatively slow because there were a lot of new voters to register, but it was very well organized.

Voting in Anoka P-8

Electronic voting machine broken. Pollster grabbed my ballot to stuff in box before she realized she could not touch it. They were dragging ballots out of the bottom to put in cardboard boxes while I was stuffing mine in the top. My vote probably won't be counted until midnight:(

Voting in Grand Rapids Harris Township

Parking lot full at 7:05. #31 on the counter at 7:07 am. Lots of teachers voting early, as it is conferences today from 8:00-5:59 pm. Cookies and coffee were available in Harris Township Hall. Thanks!

At Creekside Community Center

…in far northwest Minneapolis (Shingle Creek Neighborhood), the place was plenty busy, but no lines to speak of at 10:20 AM. Every voting space was being used, but the turnover was fairly quick, and one opened up as soon as I got my ballot. A few minutes of filling in ovals, and I was voter #437 on the machine accepting the ballots.

Son and family live across the river in the Waite Park Neighborhood, and reported a long line at Waite Park School at 7 AM. Took them a while to vote (they brought their 1-year-old and 3-year-old), but aside from a wait of what sounded like a few minutes, no notable glitches.

Kudos to the poll workers at Creekside. They had the system down pat, and things went smoothly.

Long Lines

The lines were indeed long in my precinct in White Bear Lake. They appeared to be longer than in any other year including 2008!

Wayzata City Hall

In and out in about 5 minutes. Not surprised. Never a wait there...

Red Pine Elementary in Eagan

I went at 9:45 with my 3 kids in tow...I was pretty nervous about long lines and the parking lot was full, but I was able to walk right up to sign in and get my ballot with no wait. As I left, there was a line of about 10 people waiting to sign in.

no wait - but new questions

I vote in Chanhassen and there was nobody in line ahead of me at 10:30 this morning.
I walked up to the "J" line as per normal, and the worker did something new this year. She covered up the book, asked me my full name, and to confirm my address and my birthdate. She also made sure that I read the statement about "I swear that this is me..." (I can't recall the wording on the statement).
In previous years I was greeted with "hi, what's your name, sign here."
Voting took 5 minutes max.

I was in line for precinct 2

I was in line for precinct 2 in Vadnais Heights at about 6:50 this morning, around number 30 in line. There were a ton of people in the A-F line compared to the others and that election judge was a little slower than the others, so I spent another 10 minutes waiting for a ballot. All told I was there for about half an hour. My ballot was #37, but the person directly in front of mine spoiled hers trying to get it into the machine. Three precincts vote in the same building, so they had volunteers getting people into the right precinct line at the door.

By the time I left at 7:15 there were 50 people in line inside and another 50 people in line outside, and the large parking lot was full (the polling station is Vadnais Heights commons, which shares a lot with half the town athletic fields).

busy but organized

Voted at about 10:45 a.m. at Valley View Elementary in Columbia Heights -- parking lot was full, but able to park after circling lot a couple times. Once inside voting was quick, but machine wouldn't take my ballot; turned out I had two sheets stuck together and voted on front of one and back of other. Had to remark the front of one, and then all went smoothly, but poll worker said they'd had others with the same problem. Best part was the hallway leading to the polls lined with kids' essays on "If I was the president..." -- one started, "I'd be tired." Lots said they'd have free toys and free food for everyone, and several said they'd "be nice." My favorite said she would "go to as many meetings as I can stand."

long line at 7:00 AM..

i arrived at Kenny School on 58th & Emerson South in Mpls at 7:00 and was the 127th person in line. A neighbor told me he got there at 6:30 and there were already 13 folks ahead of him. it took 50 minutes as the voting machine was spitting the ballots back out quite a bit for a while and it slowed things down quite a bit but everyone was quiet and patient and eventually the machine accepted ballots as intended. When i left, the line was out the door and just as long.

Lynnhurst Park, Minneapolis

In at 9:30, out at 9:45. Smooth as silk! No line. Probably 50 people voting at the same time I did. It's too bad that I read here about voting station availability limiting the velocity of voting....personal preference I guess. I've been voting at Lynnhurst for 25 years. We have about 10 voting stations, but the vast majority of people have always just sat on the floor, put the ballot up against the wall, or on someone's back, or sit in the folded-up bleachers to fill out the ballot. It works great and it keeps things moving, moving, moving. Thanks to all the judges and volunteers...and good luck out there!!

No lines or waiting in Forest Lake

You would think with all the contentious issues in the 6th Congressional District, including a heated race between Michelle Bachmann and challenger Jim Graves, there would be huge lines of people waiting to vote in Forest Lake. There was no line, and no waiting. Is this good or bad for Bachmann?

Long lines

at Green Central Gym (9th Ward). I waited over an hour and was number 950 at about 10:45 am. I have no real comparisons since my polling place changed this year. In previous years voting at 31st and Park I only waited 10 or 15 minutes.

Record morning turnout in Pine City.

By noon over 600 voters in little ol' Pine City. Eight hours to go and about one-third of the eligible voters have already made their way to City Hall. Busy day at the polling place!

Voting in NE Mpls

Went to River Village (Marshall Terrace neighborhood, NE Mpls)--a new polling place for my neighborhood since redistricting. My neighbors that I saw, and I, are not happy about it--it’s farther away for probably everyone, beyond the big rail yard. And voting involved way more waiting than ever before: 1 h 10 m (arrived 10:30). From what I could gather, such a wait has been typical since opening. Yet my vote registered as #451--hard to believe.

No lines in Stillwater

Voting at about 10:00 a.m. at Ward/Precinct 3 in Stillwater (Our Savior Lutheran Church). Forgot to look at the number on my ballot receipt.

Always efficient in St. Cloud

Voted over the noon hour, pretty busy, but was able to walk right in, vote, and out in about 5 minutes. I was number 715.

No midday wait in Brooklyn Park

Palmer Lake Elem. 11am vote avoided the before-work, lunch-hour, and after-work crowds.

ID

And no one had impersonated me or any member of my family.

Green Central

A friend on Facebook posted this about Green Central in Minneapolis:

"I abandoned the completely unexpected voting line this AM because I had an appointment. I just went back over the lunch hour and WAS TURNED AWAY! I don't know if I will get a third opportunity to try to vote today."

Later comments from her: "I was told the building was 'at capacity.' They had the doors locked and only because I [pounded on the door] did they open them to give me that excuse." "Who knows how many people just walked away when they couldn't get in, given the demographics (e.g. high non-English speakers, many new voters, high poverty, etc.) of my neighborhood."

This voter is pretty tied in and made a series of calls, including to council member Elizabeth Glidden who responded to the Facebook post: "they have long lines at Green Central. Elections staff is conferring with the judges to makes sure things are more smooth at that location. Also, park staff will be coming out more frequently to talk to voters and let them know why there is a line outside. They also are going to see if they can get coffee or chairs or something for people who have to wait outside the building."

But locking the doors? What? Let a line form outside and manage it, for pete's sake.

My own experience

Was smooth and easy in St. Anthony Park, St. Paul, just after 9 a.m. No waiting, no locked doors.

Breaking the Ballot Question Rules

I voted at about 8 a.m. in Precinct 4 in Mound. One of the poll workers was reciting to each person, before handing out the ballots, loudly and unasked, that choosing not to vote on the two ballot questions amounted to a "no" vote. I didn't even know that was against the rules until I got to work and talked with a coworker. He said it's okay to inform anyone who asks of this rule, but not to be repeatedly announcing it. He advised me to report this to 1-866-OURVOTE (687-8683), and they were happy I'd let them know. They said they would follow up.

I said something like that to the woman giving me instructions

She responded by saying that I would have to read the written instructions, which she had pointed out to me previously.

I live in the small town of Zumbrota, where everybody votes in the same building. The person taking signatures knew me, and flipped the book to the proper page. I didn't have to wait (one booth available) and was done in five minutes. I took a half day off and voted at about 1:15 PM.

Linwood Rec

We voted this morning at about 7:15. There was a line of maybe 50, but it moved right along and everyone was in great spirits. We were in and out in about 15 minutes.
There was a line of mostly young people waiting to register - what a beautiful sight!

Ward 11, Precinct 2, South Minneapolis

Voted at Mayflower Church on 54th/Diamond Lake Road at about 2 pm. There were no lines, but there was a steady, brisk business. I was voter 1171. Very happy to see young (college student?) election judges beside the elders.

Watershed High, South Minneapolis

About a 40 minute wait over lunch hour. This is a charter school that used to be a nursing home. It replaces the gym at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, and it's way too small to handle something like this. The room where we signed in and voted is a glorified double-classroom with barely enough room to move around, and even trickier for those with canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Not enough voting stations, either, so some folks filled out their ballots at a table. Fortunately, out of the nearly 100 folks who came through while I was here, only one left without voting.

The overriding question for many of us on line: Why were we voting here instead of the Field Community School across the street?

Seward Square in Seward, Minneapolis

Arrived at about 8:45am. All told, it was about an hour and a half before I finally left. The organization and speed of the polling place workers seemed to be good; there are just a lot of people in the precinct being served by Seward Square.

An on going thread on a local community forum (http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/mpls-seward/messages/topic/4HxP1o8d...) indicates the wait has consistently been one to two hours all day. In addition, it sounds like polling places for nearby precincts are seeing pretty light traffic. Definitely a feeling in Seward that the new district maps are causing some issues.

Woodbury Voting

Got to the Precinct 8 polling place (Footsteps Academy) about 12 15 pm. I had taken a call earlier from a friend who voted there about 9 am and reported that "the optical scanner broke down while they were attempting to vote. Did her vote get counted?" I called the Washington County elections department, and a very nice lady checked, and reported that it was not the optical scanner that had broken, but the arm that directed the scanned ballots into the box below it. It had been replaced and yes, my friend's ballot had been counted.

There was no line when I got there, but only one poll worker handing out tickets to those coming in, depending on which school district they lived in (Woodbury has three school districts...), as there are school board elections on the ballot. I was quickly identified and given a ballot. After filling out my ballot, I made my way to the ONE (1!) optical scanner/ballot box (I cannot remember any election before, presidential or otherwise, with only one ballot box), where a couple of people were ahead of me. I stepped aside to speak with the head elections judge and asked her about the earlier problem; she pointed to the defective ballot box near the door and said the problem had been fixed. When I inserted my ballot into the scanner, it immediately shot it back out. I tried again with the same result. Confused, I stepped aside and, with the people now lining up behind me, looked to the head election judge. She said, rather frustratedly, that the scanners were somewhat "sensitive" as the usual ballots were 8" X 11", but this year's ballot was 8" X 14" because of so many items on it. "Turn it around," she suggested. I did, and this time the machine took my ballot. In the scramble, I failed to check to see that my vote was counted - curses!

When I got home, I called the Washington County election department again to report my experience. The nice lady reassured me that my experience was not unusual with the optical scanner. I was an election judge in Washington County for 6 years. I had seen such an incident occasionally, but only with ballots being rejected once before being accepted. If I lived in Ohio, I would be massively paranoid.

Election Judges commenting proposed amendments

There are now 9 separate reports of Minnesota election judges in precincts in various parts of the state offering unsolicited commentary to voters about the effect of failing to vote on the amendments, or telling them they have to vote on the amendments, or telling them how to vote on the amendments.

All of the reports are here: http://electionawareness.appspot.com/reports?subset=-1&followup=-1&sortB...

From the Star Tribune: "Pat Turgeon, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Secretary of State's office said Election Director Gary Poser had given the following instructions for county auditors to share with city clerks and election judges: 'Some counties have asked how election judges should explain the effect of not voting on a proposed Constitutional Amendment. There should be nothing for election judges to explain orally about the constitutional amendments. The instruction wording is printed on the ballot above the constitutional amendments. If voters ask about the proposed amendments, election judges should point to this language without any further explanation to avoid influencing how the voter votes. As always, you may want to consult with your county attorney if you have questions about this matter.'"
http://m.startribune.com/news/?id=177520231&c=y

At Nativity in St. Paul

Voted at 11:30. No line, but judges said they had a long line earlier. I was voter 667. The judge did tell me that a blank vote on the amendment was equivalent to a 'no' vote.

One thing I did this year was to use the strib's website to get information on the folks running for soil and water commissioners. Was glad I did that ahead of time.

Please report election judge conduct to Election Protection

Please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE tomorrow (Wednesday) to report the election judge's statements about the amendments. There's been a pattern of election judges making similar statements throughout the state.