Brooklyn voters have taken to the streets all summer to have their voices heard in protests over racial injustice and inequality, and that action to be heard continued through the early voting period last week and looks set to continue through Election Day.
In Brooklyn, more than 370,000 voters cast their ballots during the early voting period. In New York City, that number was 1.1 million. And already today, Nov. 3, voters have been lining up since 6:00am to cast their ballots in an anything but normal election.
At P.S. 274 in Bushwick, Brooklyn Roasting Company turned up to give out free coffee and keep voters warm in the chilly morning breeze. But the team was pleasantly surprised to see there was no major line, and voters were easily making their way in and out of the school building.
Bushwick local Zak Vreeland said although there was no line, it was the biggest turnout he’d seen at the site in 20 years.
“‘Ive voted in this place for almost 20 years and there’s never a line, this is the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. People want to vote against Trump. There has been a lot of worry about lines so people are doing early voting and coming early today,” he said.
“I want to participate and I’m very motivated to get Trump out. It’s very tense. I wouldn’t have been crazily wiled up about a lot of other people, like McCain or Romney, but I was very depressed after the second Bush election.”
For Bushwick voters Anussa Rosada and Oscar Bianceki turning up was all about fulfilling their civic duty.
“We always vote,” Rosado said. “I feel like it’s our civic duty and especially being an African American to not do it is a betrayal to my ancestors who fought for us to be able to vote. Also now is an anxious time and this is the time that you really do need to vote. I was happy to come here and see the polling place was actually together, there wasn’t a wait and everybody seems to be really happy and enjoying doing their civic duty”
Bianceki added: “I feel optimism for some change finally after all this headache that this man has given us, it’s time for something different.”
At Saratoga Village in Bed-Stuy Sunday, the last day of early voting, voters stood in the rain to make sure their voices were heard.
20-year-old Bed-Stuy resident Nancy said: “I feel like with everything that’s happening this is the only way that people feel like they can help with everything that’s happening in the world right now,” she said.
“We have got to get this president in my opinion so that’s why I came early. We’re gonna get through it and we’ve got to get him out one way or another.”
Bertha Lucky brought her two children to the polls to vote with her and said thought the high turnout we’ve seen in Brooklyn and across the country came down to people wanting to be heard early, and young people showing up. “I think a lot of younger people are of an age now where they want to use their democracy to vote.”
Her daughter Sophia Lucky added: “I think people are scared and are fed up with the way things are going, to my mom’s point, young people between the ages of 18 and 29 are coming out to vote in record numbers and that shows just how serious this election is and that’s why have those lines. It’s beautiful actually.
For Leon Brown, 30, early voting was a quick, easy and much inclusive way to carry out the democratic process. “This is a better way for people to vote, it’s easy, it’s updated, you have more time rather than just the one day. We had the problem with the Russian interference last time so the fact we can vote early, there’s not that interruption,” he said.
“Some people want Trump out, some people don’t and they want to see that come to pass early. I think it’s way better that we get to vote early.”