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Early Voting for the First Time

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 25, 2020 23:22

3 users

New York City is holding early voting for the first time, and I participated on the very first day.

I remember vaguely my first time voting, in 1982. I voted for Senator Moynihan, whom I'd met once (he visited my next door neighbor, and we said our hellos). I recall the various polling sites I've gone to: my elementary school (PS 193K), my junior high (Hudde), St. Brendan's Senior Citizen Apartments, an apartment building on Ocean Avenue, PS 197K (my younger daughter's alma mater) and my site of the past several years, Murrow High School (our family's alma mater).

Yesterday I voted instead at the Council Center for Senior Citizens on Quentin Road, a brief bike ride from my home, because that is the designated early voting site for my area. Saturday, October 24th was the very first day that New York City had early voting, and I decided to be part of this.

We're having early voting especially because of the current pandemic situation, but also because New Yorkers have clamored for it long enough. At least a dozen of my friends voted yesterday, and several more on Day Two, Sunday.

The line for my site was nearly wrapped around the block and I hadn't anticipated this. Fortunately I sat-stood on my bike, which made the ordeal easier on my feet and legs, and my nerves. Poll workers walked around and spoke with us eager voters, and mentioned that there had been technical problems earlier when the Wifi went down. The line began moving slowly but surely.

I'd brought along a pocket sized copy of the United States Constitution, to read if I grew too restless. But I ended up having interesting conversations with the people just in front and behind me. The woman ahead of me was also walking with her bicycle. Turns out she teaches English at Cunningham Intermediate School, which my daughters attended, and she recognized my younger girl's name. We talked about the school, people we knew in common, and passed the time for a while.

Then I made a few phone calls, and after that chatted with the guy behind me. What did we talk about? Concerts we've seen! We swapped stories about shows, especially those we'd seen in Brooklyn and Manhattan, such as those we'd seen  at legendary Brooklyn clubs L'Amour and Zappa's (sadly, long gone).

At one point we heard some shouting: a man wearing a MAGA cap was yelling about something and poll workers had to deal with him diplomatically. More dramatically, I smelled smoke and the English teacher thought it was the BBQ eatery we stood near. No -- there was an actual fire on the next street, Kings Highway! We saw smoke and then several fire trucks racing to the scene. T'was strange entertainment for an election day line.

Once inside the polling site, we stood on taped spots, then marched upstairs and received our ballots. We marked them, scanned them, and received our voting stickers. Many of us "selfied" to show our status us voters.

I appreciated the comradery and spirit of our civic-minded, multicultural group.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on October 25, 2020 23:22

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Source: Toledo Blade

Early voting continues until Election Day, Nov. 3.

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