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Longest voting line yet at Boston City Hall

Line to vote early at Boston City Hall

Jocelyn reports that around 6 p.m., the line to vote at Boston City Hall went way outside onto City Hall Plaza and around the building.

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should the delay be considered vote suppression and a violation of the voting rights act. I think anything over 15 minutes.....

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Give me a break. First time the city has given people the option to vote early & on multiple occasions, independent of neighborhood -- and people are enthusiastically using it. This isn't a time for whiners, it's a time to celebrate an advancement in voter engagement.

I don't think it'd be easy to study or track, but I'm willing to bet the buzz around in-person early voting and the great numbers of people who are taking advantage of it will create a shift in the number of people who are voting, but otherwise might not have, not because of scheduling but because it's in the news and they're more likely to create a concrete plan for when/where they'll vote.

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Poll taxes have consistently been ruled illegal.

Given that minimum wage is $10.00 per hour, why does making people wait in line for an hour to vote not have the same legal status as charging a $10 poll tax?

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Because you're giving them the option to vote on THEIR schedule. You can do it any day over 2 weeks, and at least here in Somerville early voting is open until like 8 pm.

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I think most towns also have weekend hours. Basically, you're kvetching about the very problem that early voting is solving. Were you complaining like this last year, when the only available polling hours were from 8 am to 8 pm on one day? Somehow I don't think so.

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Were you complaining like this last year, when the only available polling hours were from 8 am to 8 pm on one day? Somehow I don't think so.

No, I wasn't complaining, because my waiting time to vote last year was about 3 minutes.

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We were not electing a president.

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Because you're giving them the option to vote on THEIR schedule. You can do it any day over 2 weeks, and at least here in Somerville early voting is open until like 8 pm.

Yes, but are you giving them the right to vote without it costing them an hour of their time?

Voting is a right. If you said, "you can only exercise that right if you go put in an hour's volunteer labor sweeping the street," then it's no longer a right; it would be a clear violation of the law. Why is asking someone to stand in a line for an hour any different, legally speaking, from asking him or her to perform any other task for an hour?

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Yes, but are you giving them the right to vote without it costing them an hour of their time?

No, and that is due to the fact that Election Day is not a holiday in this country. So...again...the question that you really don't want to answer: how is early voting making this worse?

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how is early voting making this worse?

When did I or anyone else ever say the early voting was making a problem worse?

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Is anything stopping people from coming back when the line is short and won't cost them AN HOUR OF THEIR TIME?

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Is anything stopping people from coming back when the line is short and won't cost them AN HOUR OF THEIR TIME?

What would stop people from coming back when the line is short would be that THE LINE IS NEVER SHORT.

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There was no line for early voting in Hyde Park last Wednesday after work. I was there holding a sign for over two hours, and most people were back out the door in under 15 minutes.

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I didn't have to wait in line when I voted two weeks ago. This was Somerville, not Boston, but still.

You're only seeing pictures of the long lines because they're noteworthy, thus by extension likely unusual. No one's going to take a picture and say "look how short this line is!".

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this is a particularly stupid take.

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I disagree. For all the bad press North Carolina has gotten over voter suppression (shortening the early voting period, requiring ID), Massachusetts historically is FAR worse.

Massachusetts has just started early voting, which the rest of the country discovered years ago. Voting in Massachusetts means pulling out your ID and showing it to a cop. In most states, they won't even look at your ID if you hand it to them. Worst of all, in Massachusetts if you walk into your local elections office before Election Day and ask for an absentee ballot, they ask you sternly "WILL YOU BE OUT OF TOWN ON ELECTION DAY?" If not, no absentee ballot for you.

Voter suppression in Massachusetts is not new. It's a tradition.

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Massachusetts has just started early voting, which the rest of the country discovered years ago.

They did? This year is the first time I've ever heard of in-person early voting, and my relatives in other states confirm that if it's offered at all there, this is the first year.

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Voting in Massachusetts means pulling out your ID and showing it to a cop.

This has never happened to me.

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Same same.

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Anon may not have actually voted in Massachusetts.

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This is flat-out nonsense.

"You may [note: MAY] be asked to show identification when you check-in at your polling place for any of the following reasons:

"You are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election;
"You are an inactive voter;
"You are casting a provisional or challenged ballot;
"The poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification.

"Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote. Examples of acceptable identification include: a driver's license, state-issued ID card, recent utility bill, rent receipt, lease, a copy of a voter registration affidavit, or any other printed identification which contains the voter's name and address."

(Source: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleidreq/idrequirementsidx.htm)

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I have never showed any form of ID voting in MA. Please stop with the BS

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Once when I was mysteriously removed from the rolls (and my husband was not), I had to show that my ID was consistent with the address for the record to get a ballot (never mind that they could have cross checked with who paid the goddamn water bill ...).

My sons had to show theirs the first time they voted.

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The city has complete control over how long the wait is, by choosing how to staff the voting places.

There's obviously some point at which it's not simply delay, but actual vote suppression. Where would you, personally draw the line?

1 hour? 2 hours? 6 hours?

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Over here, we have 8 am to 8 pm on Tuesday, November 8.

Over there, we have 8 am to 8 pm on Tuesday, November 8, plus locally-determined hours and days in addition to that.

Given that hours cannot be negative, how can "over there" be less than "over here"?

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The question is not, 'what hours are the polls open?,' it's 'how long a wait in line is acceptable?'

What if you could vote any time you want, 24x7, for an entire week, but there was a guaranteed 8 hour wait from the time you got into line to the time you cast your ballot. . Would imposing that kind of delay be legal, or would it be vote suppression? What if the wait was 36 hours, or 172 hours? What if it was 4 hours?

Were would you draw the line between a reasonable wait and illegal vote suppression?

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Bob, this is a thread about early voting. It is not a thread about "voter suppression". Early voting provides voters with more opportunities to vote. It does not restrict their access, it expands it. Now, if you want to start a thread about "illegal voter suppression", you go right ahead. However, for it to be illegal, you're going to have to point to an instance of polls not being open from 8 am to 8 pm on Election Day, because that is the legal requirement. The more you carp about early voting as "illegal voter suppression", the more you're barking at the moon.

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Early voting or not, what do you, personally, think is the maximum wait time at the polls that should be considered legally acceptable?

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Real voter suppression is happening, and you want to give a bunch of perfectly honest poll workers a line of crap like this? Act your age.

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Blaming the city for failing to provide enough poll workers is hardly 'giving the poll workers a line of crap.'

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The long lines at the polls could be eliminated by the simple act of handing out clipboards, golf pencils, and sample ballots to the people waiting in line.

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I don't understand why the voting is just outside the main lobby/entrance instead of on the second floor. It looked like it was really cluttering up the normal processes at City Hall. They have a huge entrance on the backside of the plaza that goes unused (exit only). They should have made it the voting entrance. They weren't metal-detecting voters anyway so that wouldn't be a concern (which it is on a normal day).

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At 2pm at least they were having you go through security first, then go back out and wait in line. The white card they gave you (and then you gave back) was supposed to be proof you had gone through the metal detectors at some point.

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At 2pm at least they were having you go through security first, then go back out and wait in line. The white card they gave you (and then you gave back) was supposed to be proof you had gone through the metal detectors at some point.

I understand that the security scan is just for show, but, seriously, that's the stupidest effing thing I've seen all week.

Go through the line. Get your white card. Go back outside, Your accomplice hands you a briefcase full of hand grenades. Get back in line. Wave the white card on the way back in.

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I guess you could plant your grenades somewhere there is a big gathering planned sometime in the future, but I am guessing this would be pretty ineffective. A big line like in the picture at the top is a much easier and just as effective target.

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They have a huge entrance on the backside of the plaza that goes unused (exit only).

On Election Day, when City Hall is a polling place, they use that back entrance for voters.

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At that point, the line was back to the picnic table in the image, and it took about an hour when all was said and done. It's also worth nothing that today was the last day polls were open late (8pm) for early voting.

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And street performers! Captive audience!

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this is Boston, land of "Do you have a permit for that?"

We haven't quite innovated everything yet.

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Curt Schilling was on the ballot....

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I tried twice to vote early, and gave up both times because of the long lines.

The first attempt was last Saturday, when I tried to vote at the West Roxbury library. The lines were long, but from what I understand, they moved fast. I decided against it, and planned to go elsewhere.

The second attempt was last night at City Hall. I arrived there about 6, went through the metal detector, got my white card, went back in line, waited for an hour, and when I got to the entrance, I saw the line was not going anywhere. I gave up and went home because I didn't want to be stuck in line until 8 and then be told, "sorry, polls are closed."

Compare this to the Roche Family Center four years ago, where (I think) it took me all of ten minutes to vote. That was also because I got there when the polls opened at 7am.

The idea of early voting is great - the execution depends on where you are and the demand. In the case of City Hall, it was people getting off of work in town and the appeal of "getting it done and over with" that produced those long lines. This will certainly help the voters who traditionally vote on Election Day as voting may be much quicker.

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if you have the time. If you can't make the regular hours on Tuesday then maybe it is worth the wait.

Most polling places expect less than a 1000 people over 13 hours. Or just over 1 a minute. Almost all are expecting less than 1600 over 13 hours which comes out to less than 2 a minute. I am thinking these early votes places in Boston (I tried City Hall and Copley) are getting much more than two voters a minute.

See 2012 presidential voter tallies.

http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/2012%20-%2011-06-12%20-%20S...

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Most Ward-Precinct breakdowns expect less than 1000 people.

A lot of polling places in Boston group a couple of precincts together, so the actual polling place will have many more people than each of these boxes indicate.

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