It took me more than hours to vote this morning. I live in a City of approximately 50,000 people and stood in line from 8am until 10:30am. The longest I'd ever had to wait before this election was 30 minutes. Now, I certainly expected a longer wait due to longer lines, but the lines were no longer than usual when I arrived. So, why was it taking so long?
I don't wear anything that announces who I'm voting for when I go to vote. I just don't feel the need to give anyone who doesn't agree with me an excuse to confront me. I had the day off, so was wearing jeans, a Green Bay Packer Sweatshirt, and my beloved Milwaukee Brewers cap. I didn't stand out, at least I thought I didn't until a group of guys wearing a variety of "Make America Great Again" garb started talking to me like I was part of their posse. It didn't take long before I realized what was going on.
They kept saying things like "take your time, we got all day" or "Don't hurry for Hillary" as they casually sipped their coffee and moved along. At first, it didn't seem like a big deal. I know the town I live in is very conservative, so I wasn't surprised and just stood quietly as the line slowly, painstakingly, progressed. When I finally go into the building and could see what was going on, I was shocked. The lines weren't long, but they were being bottle necked by Trump supporting gentlemen (no ladies were taking part in this from what I could tell) who were much like the group just in front of me. They all appeared to be older men, probably retirement age and beyond who were content standing and chatting it up with poll workers, fumbling to find their ID's, talking with the guy next to them, cracking jokes etc. It was obvious that they were purposeful in their delays.
When I and the group in front of me finally got to the poll workers, the same scenario played out. What should have taken two minutes, took twenty. When the men did finally get into the voting booth, they stood there for a long time. These weren't the kind of folks that would be agonizing over who to vote for up or down the ticket, and yet, there they were, taking up booth after booth for unreasonable amounts of time.
At first, I was just frustrated for me. Who likes standing in line? After a while though, I realized what was happening. There were people stopping in to vote who were hoping to cast a ballot before work or while on a break. In the past, this was never an issue and the polls were always fast moving, especially in the morning. Not this time though. Many people had to give up and get back to other responsibilities. It was at that point I realized that these men were actually organized, and methodical in the glacial way they were proceeding. The plan, which appeared to be working, was to turn younger people (more likely to be Hillary voters) away from the polls.
I witnessed several people get in line, only to get out of line thirty minutes later when they realized they had hardly moved. As much as they wanted to stay, they had other responsibilities that the men holding things up didn't appear to have.
I shouldn't need to spell out what this tactic could mean if people who came once and left, don't come back to cast their votes.
I'm concerned with what I saw today. I have no idea how organized this tactic is, or if it is happening elsewhere, but if anyone else sees something like this going on, be sure to report it.
I'm sure there are several ways to report voting issues. I found this number and intend to call it after I post this.
To report a problem or for general elections/voting questions:
Call: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
Good luck out there and don't let anyone or anything stop you from voting today!