Dear PoPville – How Have Your Early Voting Experiences Been?


Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

“Dear PoPville,

It would be interesting to see how people’s experience has been at the early voting centers thus far. I’m trying to figure out if its best to go to Judiciary Square or my Ward (6), and what time of day would be best to avoid a huge headache that folks dealt with last weekend pre-hurricane.”

Any tips?

40 Comment

  • I voted on Friday at Judiciary Square. Practically no line inside. I had to vote “special”, and it went quickly, even with the extra steps to go through for myself and the officials. If lines are too bad, you could grab a half smoke to eat while in line.

  • I started my early voting process on Saturday in Ward 7 where I waited for 1.5 hours… which only got me about 1/3 of the way through the line. I finally abandoned that effort, hopped in my car, and drove down to Judiciary Square where I found parking & voted in under 25 minutes.

  • I voted last night (Oct. 31) at Judiciary Square. There was a bit of a line. All told, it took about 50 minutes. At the time I went, there were two busloads of people that seemed to have been recently dropped off, which may have had something to do with the line.

    One of the buses was bearing Vicent Orange campaign signs.

  • Voted today. No line, friendly service. I was in and out in 15 minutes and the lady gave me three stickers :)

  • What exactly is the point of early voting? It certainly doesn’t sound like it’s faster, and if you can’t make it on election day, that’s what absentee ballots are for.

    • I think it’s great and can only encourage better turnout when people have more options, given that schedules get busy with work, family obligations, etc. It’s also very helpful if something unanticipated comes up shortly before election day. For instance, I found out a few days ago that I have to take a daytrip out of town for a business meeting next Tuesday. My train is supposed to have me back in DC before polls close, but I worried about missing my chance to vote if any Amtrak delays came up, so I took care of it by early voting.

    • In my experience, it’s faster and more convenient.

  • I voted the Saturday morning before the hurricane and it took about 90 minutes. There was a bit of a line, but seats were open. Those who opted for a paper ballot tended to move through at a brisk pace. In fact, I heard a few poll workers recommend the paper ballots. I, however, preferred to use one of the machines, of which there were two for every 50 precincts. That slowed things down considerably, especially when my machine ran out of paper and there seemed to be confusion about who should get more. At the end of it all, I still felt pretty great after submitting my vote.

  • em

    We voted last night in Ward 6 (King Greenleaf) around 7:00 or 7:30 pm and there was no line for either Ward 6 voters or for voters from other parts of the city.

  • Oops… Probably helpful for me to mention that was all at Judiciary Square.

  • I voted last week right after work at Judiciary Square. I was in and out in about ten minutes. I’m not sure why anyone would wait to vote on one set day (election day) versus having the option to vote anytime over a two week span.

    • Because the polling place is a three minute walk away and if you go after work around 6-7pm there will be next to nobody there. I voted in 2008 after work and was in and out in a few minutes. Better question is why I would go out of my way to vote early when the polling place is so much more convenient.

  • Voted yesterday at Judiciary Square at lunchtime. Even though they’d just reopened after the hurricane, the entire process took <20 minutes from start to finish. The election workers were efficient and friendly. Paper ballot line definitely moved faster than the touchscreens.

    • I voted Judiciary Square late morning today and had the same experience. There was a short wait but everyone took numbers and went in turn. Paper ballot people moved faster than electronic. I’d say I was there 20 minutes.

  • I voted last night after work at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center in SW. There were four people in line in front of me. My plan was to check it out, and if the line was long to bail on the idea until later, but clearly no long line. I was in and out quickly.

  • I voted at Judiciary Square on Thursday. A bit of a wait but I would say I was in and out in 15 minutes. Way less stressful than the wait at my ordinary polling place.

  • I voted on Saturday around 5 at Judiciary Square. Lots of people moving about, but I was in and out in less than 15 minutes.

  • I voted a judiciary square this morning; I went at 10 am, to miss the morning crowd and the lunch crowd, and was in and out in less than 20 minutes.

  • My experience was very efficient and pleasant. I first tried to vote last Saturday at the Columbia Heights Community Center, but turned back when I saw the crowds and a poll worker estimated a 2-2.5hr wait. I assume that’s because many people figured they’d get it out of the way on the first day early voting opened in the Wards, though. I tried again last night, steeling myself for what I feared would be an after-work rush (6:00pm), but there were only two people in line ahead of me. The line got a little longer as I was leaving, but even then it was only about 10 people or so.

  • I tried voting this morning at 9 at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (Ward 5), near the Brookland metro. Ghastly lines. I waited for about a half hour to get through about 1/6 the line, then bailed rather than wait till noon for my turn.

    I like the sound of Judiciary Square from the comments here; apparently they’re the only location with paper ballots as well as touch screen, and at Turkey Thicket it looked like the delay was largely driven by people’s confusion with the touch screens.

  • I went to Judiciary Square today around 12:30. Took about 50 minutes. They said it had been less than a half hour before the “lunch rush.” Both paper and electronic took about the same.

  • My wife and I voted this past Saturday at the Columbia Heights Rec Center. We go there at about 10:30 AM and it took us three full hours to get through the line. Lots of people and apparently they only had two machines set up for precincts 1- 50 (~98% of the folks there).

    • My boyfriend and I also tried to vote in Columbia Heights on Saturday, but we got there around 1:00. Only three working machines, and it took three hours to go through the line. Shortly before it was our turn, they finally got the fourth machine working and found another machine.

  • I voted this morning around 1030 at the Columbia Heights Community Center. No line at all. It was fantabulous

  • I voted last night at 7:30 at Columbia Heights Recreation Center. No line, in and out, it took all of five minutes. I wasn’t blown away by the competence or efficiency of the volunteers, and I’d be hesitant to vote here on election day for that reason. But all in all, no problem.

  • I voted at Judiciary Square this past Saturday afternoon. Took about 40 minutes from when I got until I walked out. Everything seemed pretty orderly and they were moving people through quickly, but there were just a lot of people there. I opted for the paper ballot because there was no wait for that after you checked in, whereas there was an additional small line of people waiting to use the electronic machines.

  • The entrance to the voting room at Judiciary Square is actually along the D Street side of the building (whereas the main entrance to the building is along 4th Street NW). I found this a bit confusing. I walked into the main 4th Street entrance and the guard pointed me around the corner to the D Street side. Hope this helps if you plan to go to Judiciary Square.

    • I did this the first time I went there — Bruno, I’m glad you mentioned this, as it probably confounds every first-timer.

      They do have little signs with red arrows that say “voting” to try to direct you around the corner… but the signs are too small.

      • Yes, there is a forest of signs (arrows, candidate placards, etc.) at 4th and D that does not clarify where one should go. Anyhow, the entrance you want is on D Street.

    • As someone who plans to go there in about 30 minutes, I appreciate the tip!

  • I just voted at Turkey Thicket it took about 40 min to get through the whole process. My line (Ward 1) was short ,but we only had 2 machines and it took some people a long time to get through the ballot.

    One Ward had a huge line, not sure which that was….maybe the one that pertains to the Brookland/Turkey Thicket area.

  • As someone noted, the paper ballots are only available at Judiciary Square. DC hasn’t quite mastered the whole vote center concept to they don’t have paper ballots available everywhere.

  • saf

    I voted after work at the ward 4 site. 35 minutes.

  • I went to Judiciary Square a little after 6. Whole process was about 15 minutes long. I voted via paper ballot. Fairly efficient.

  • I voted Saturday at King Greenleaf and it took 2 1/2 to get through the line, I knew the storm was coming and I wanted to get it done. What made it even worse is they wouldn’t let you have your phone out, I guess because people started taking pictures for Instagram or something. That made a LOT of folks unhappy.

  • Voted at the Columbia Heights early voting polling place (on Girard) last night around 8PM and had no problems whatsoever. There was essentially no line (although a short one was forming as I was leaving) and everyone was very helpful.

    I had to register as well and all-in-all I was there for about 15 minutes

  • Went to Judiciary Square about 5:15 last night. In and out in 15 minutes!

  • Turkey Thicket was a mess yesterday afternoon. Huge line to check-in and another HUGE line for the machines. Took a solid 55 minutes to get in and out.

  • i voted in a wealthy suburb outside of Pittsburgh, PA i did not show my drivers licence and no one asked. my daughter is a lawyer poll watcher 12 miles down the road in a predominately black neighborhood. I talked to her around 10am. Those people were asked for identification. Most had it. THIS IS WRONG…….

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