A long winding line of voters had formed inside and spilled outside of P.S. 256 by 6:30am on Election Day. Only 30 minutes after the 6:00am opening time of the polls, residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant seemed to be chomping at the bit to cast their ballot.
“Remember, people: don’t feel rushed; by federal law, your job has to give you up to two hours to vote,” shouted one man as he walked up and down the lines. He staggered a little and seemed almost inebriated. “I don’t work here, but I know how to listen, and I’m letting y’all know you can take your time and vote. It’s the law. That’s two hours, and that doesn’t include your lunch break either!”
Residents on the line chuckled. It was a little too early to have someone shouting in your ear. But folks grinned and beared it, because overall, people were hopeful about their candidate’s chances for winning this election.
“It’s historic; it’s embattled, but I’m glad to see people here at 6:30 in the morning getting out and standing in line,” said Bed-Stuy resident Kellie Jones. “I’ve seen polling places crowded before, but not like this; not at this time in the morning. I’m feeling optimistic.”
Lifelong resident Phillip Johnson agreed: “The last time I’ve seen a polling place this busy this early was during the election of John F. Kennedy,” said Johnson. “As a little boy, I remember I would accompany my aunt to the polls. Then, later, I was a press photographer, so I covered many many elections, going back to McGovern, and this has been the most ridiculous race.
“We don’t need a leader that doesn’t have respect for himself, compassion for the country. No one in the world is going to deal with that type of person. But the other lady, she held her head. She may have flaws, but everyone has flaws, and as a leader she’s qualified.”
Amanda Hagy, 34, said she felt different this election cycle than the last presidential race, during the election of President Barack Obama. “When I voted for Barack Obama, I was literally moved to tears, because I was so hopeful,” said Amanda Hagy, 34. “I voted for Hillary, even though she’s not as progressive as I wanted her to be. But it felt really good to vote for a woman candidate. It feels good to see the tide turning away from … shitty men. I do feel hopeful that she’ll win.”
Still, others were just ready for the election to be over.
“I’ve been following this election so closely, and I feel like I’m kinda burnt out on it,” said John Meyer, 31. “I don’t have a whole lot of emotion about it anymore… Let’s just say that it’s going to be a really fun party tonight, if things go well!”
Overall, at this particularly polling site on the edge of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill, it was clearly Hillary Clinton territory. And the voters seemed confident about their candidate’s chances for the Oval Office.
“I feel excited because it’s going to be a really big change that we’ll see in office,” 29-year-old Shana Barhamand said, smiling widely. “Yes, I think my candidates going to win. I think she will.”