Election Day 2020: Polling sites in Manhattan not very crowded

In the lead-up to Tuesday, Election Day, there were numerous reports of absurdly long lines at polling stations across New York City.

I had the opportunity today to explore Manhattan and visit some of its polling sites.

What I found was that, during the daytime, there were zero people waiting in line at nearly all the locations that I was able to visit, with the few exceptions only having two or three voters waiting in line. This, however, was very likely due to it being before 5pm, the time when people typically get off work and school, and the fact that New York was very aggressive in urging people to vote early.

My time being limited, the parts of town that I visited were Midtown East, the area south of Washington Square Park, the area north of WSP but south of Union Square, and then the edge of East Harlem and the Upper East Side. I recognize that the situation in these areas of the city may likely not reflect the situation in other parts of the city, especially the outer boroughs where the electorate is more racially diverse.

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I let some time pass after 5pm to see if any long lines formed at polling stations. What I found baffled me.

At every single site I visited in the evening, there were zero voters in line. Every single one of them. When I inquired about the situation throughout all of today, they all had the same answer: There were extremely few voters that came.

When I asked why they thought fewer people showed up today, each of them came to the conclusion that so many New Yorkers chose to vote early. More likely than not, this titanic amount of early voters in New York took the pressure off of polling sites today, which isn’t the most far-fetched conclusion as theories go during this wacky election cycle.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.