At least it was on Tuesday afternoon, when there were long lines moving fast at several polling sites, and virtually no waiting times at others.
Early voting appeared to be working well across the Bronx on Tuesday afternoon, one week before Election Day, as lines were either short or fast-moving at eight of the 17 early voting places in the borough City Limits visited between 3 and 6 p.m.
“It’s moving fast. I’m shocked,” said Dorethea Doran as she sat on a picnic table outside the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community Center at 1000 Rosedale Road, where at 4:45 p.m. not a single person was waiting and voters could be seen inside moving quickly to their voting booths. “I’ve been here twice today. First I came. Then I brought my father. They’ve got it down pat. Even wiping stuff down, they’re keeping it moving.”
Usually, Doran says, voting is a hassle. “It’s been a pleasure to vote this year.”
There was no line at Columbus High School at 925 Astor Ave., either—though on Saturday, it had stretched all the way around the block. “People got scared when they saw the papers. But we’re handling it efficiently,” said poll worker Tristann Davis, who at 4 p.m. was greeting voters as they arrived like a maitre’d at a restaurant. There was a steady stream of voters on Tuesday, he said. Early voting had meant long days for him, he acknowledged when pressed. “I don’t mind so long as people are coming out to exercise their rights. And as long as we’re debunking the myth of long lines.”
That was the message articulated by voters and poll workers alike at more than one early-voting site on Tuesday: that the initial reports of an early-voting fiasco were vastly exaggerated, or at least no longer reflected the reality in the Bronx.
At the Butler United Methodist Church at 3920 Paulding Ave., Joyce Briscoe, a City Council candidate offering flyers and candies at a table around the corner from the polling-place entrance, said the weekend line had wrapped completely around the block, so that people joining the line could greet people who had finally gotten to the precipice of voting. “At least its not turning the corner,” she said of the line at around 3:30 p.m. At least 80 people were waiting to get in, but a voter said it had taken her only 20 minutes to get through the line and cast her ballot.
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A couple miles south at 1380 Parkchester Road, the line of voters stretched down the sidewalk and along the curving walkway inside the cooperative housing development, with at least 100 people waiting to vote by 4:15. But a man standing about 30 voters away from the entrance said he’d only been in line for 15 minutes and that things were going well. There, as at other sites visited Tuesday, mask compliance appeared to be perfect and people were standing with large gaps between them and other people in the line.
Around 80 people were in line at Stevenson High School at 1980 Lafayette Ave., the line winding out of the school doors, along an L-shaped pathway and bending onto the sidewalk. Cars were doubled parked along a side street as voters hopped out to join the wait. At around 4:45 p.m., a poll worker walked to the far end of the line to make a warm welcoming speech and recommend that voters check their polling site, because some might need to go to the 174th Street site nearby. Jamar, standing about 20 people from the front entrance, said he’d been in line for 20 minutes—nothing like the friend who had spent two or three hours in line in Manhattan on the weekend. “That was disgusting,” Jamar, a first-time voter said. He had been worried about the wait and the health risks of voting in person. “But the lines aren’t that bad at all.”
There were 10 or so people at 5 p.m. waiting outside the Bronx River Community Center at 1619 East 174th Street, where on Saturday the line had wound around the walkways of the NYCHA development, its end not visible from the polling place door. Every morning of early voting so far, there have been several seniors lined up at the voting site well before the polls open. A staffer described the atmosphere in the line as serious, all-business.
At Tremont United Methodist Church at 1951 Washington Ave., there was no line even at 5:15 p.m., when people might be expected to be queuing up after work. Twelve blocks away at 5:45 p.m., a short line was queued up outside the Thomas C. Giordano Middle School at 2502 Lorillard Place, but it moved briskly. Voters yielded to let people using walkers and wheelchairs cut to the beginning of the line.
Across the intersection, as teenagers played ball on a huge asphalt playground behind her, a volunteer was working the crowd for Shanequa Charles, who is running for the 78th Assembly District as a write-in candidate. “Shanequa Charles. Write her in. Write her in,” she boomed through a megaphone, her voice showing the strain of several hours of shouting. “For those of you who are tired of this bullhorn, I apologize.”