WPCNR STREETS OF WHITE PLAINS. News and Comment By John F. Bailey NOVEMBER 1, 2020 UPDATED NOVEMBER 2 WITH ACTUAL NUMBER OF VOTERS VOTING EARLY:
They were lining up to vote.
They joined the line.
The line they knew they would have to stand in for hours.
They stood, silent, forlorn, faces set in commitment waiting for polls to start counting their votes.
By WPCNR reckoning depending on how many voting machines were in the Board of Elections Polling Place, each person would each take 5 minutes to vote between checking in with the polling personnel and signing their name in the big voter rolls books, then tediously, squinting and filling out by dark pen (which had to be sanitized each time the pen was used by a voter), then had to fill in hard-to-read ballots for their choices in very teeny, tiny, little circles you had to fill in precisely within the lines.
(That was a long one sentence paragraph that hardly describes the agony of voting early in White Plains NY USA and every other of the 17 Early Voting Polling Centers.)
I reckon it will take each person in that waiting line above, hours to vote once poll opened. It has been like this all week long at the Board of Elections Polling Place at 25 Quarropos Street. About 100 persons were lined up this morning at 11:45 A.M..
This means that if you got on the end of the end of the line once polls opened and each person ahead of you took 5 minutes to vote it would take you 8 hours to vote. If each person ahead of you took 10 minutes to vote, you would not get to vote unless they kept the polls open to 9 PM,
There were no preparations for a heavy early voting turnout. There were no contingency plans that we could see last week/
“There are too many voting early.”
OK. But they were not ready for the worst case it could be. They weren’t prepared to expand hours exponentially.
Just thinking (somebody has to do it):
Perhaps they should have kept the polls open from 6 AM to 9 PM like a regular election day once they saw the giant turnouts and perhaps open maybe two more polling places in White Plains to help things out and would ease the pain.
Of course the excuse is we “had no idea the turnout would be so large.”
Well in White Plains there are 33,000 registered voters (approximately). You had one polling place that was open for 9 days for early voting(still one day to vote). This would mean that if all voted early you would have to accommodate 3,666 voters every day for 9 days. Of course there are the absentee ballots. So let’s say there were thousands of those.
Judging from the crowd waits in White Plains you were probably getting 400 voters a day voting early, and many had to come back the next day. My point is you had to have more than 17 early voting polling places in the county, not just one in a city of 57,000.
Not withstanding, you have by squeezing people into the Board of Elections which is not specious by any means, you are potentially creating a “Super Spreader, hard to social distance” environment to vote.
However the county has two venues in White Plains that could have housed a polling place in the specious County Center with plenty of room to string out 10, 20, 30, 40 voting machines and voting kiosks to space out the White Plains voters at least. All that had to be done was to cart the records over from the BOE. You could hire more elections inspectors…and run the lines either around the floor of the County Center and put the voting machined on the center stage.
Another venue could have been the White Plains Performing Arts Center Wind the lines through the seats of the theater check in in the front of the stage and have them vote in kiosks on stage and carry them over to a bank of voting machines.
I can hardly wait to see the crowds at the regular polling places in White Plains on Tuesday.
At the pace they were getting votes cast at The Board of Elections say 10 minutes for each person to vote, 5 at a time with 4 to 6 machines,(there should have been more) you’d be clearing 50 to 60 an hour. If signing-in, pen wiping, and painstaking voting filling in took 5 minutes a person, 4 machines you’d be clearing a 100 an hour (600 a day).
Westchester County has 642,976 registered voters. Seventeen Early Voting Polling Places were open for those 642,976 voters. If half decided to vote early each polling place could perhaps have to handle 18,911 voters. That is 2,000 a day. At the pace of the early voting that has taken place the 17 early voting polls could never have handled a 50% turnout.
Say 25% of Westchester voters voted early (161,000) : the 17 polling places would have have still had to expect 1,000 a day (1,052).The absentee voters would cut down on that, but by how much? Judging by the pace of the early voting process, on each of the 8 days to date, they cannot handle 500 a day.
UPDATED EDITOR’S NOTE: THE ACTUAL NUMBER OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY VOTERS VOTING EARLY WAS 138,625 ACCORDING TO MEDIA OUTLETS AFTER THE 17 POLLING PLACES CLOSED. THIS MEANS 21.6% OF WESTCHESTER COUNTY REGISTERED VOTERS VOTED EARLY.
The long lines prove that.
WPCNR salutes the intrepid voters willing to go through this incredible surreal experience (poorly planned, poorly funded, poorly decisioned as it has proved to be), to have their say in early voting.
You are the real heroes of the USA, you are making your commitment to the country, and sending a message that you care about your country what it stands for and what it has brought to the world the last 244 years: Truth, Justice and the American Way.
You are the best.