On the first day of early voting in New York on Saturday, tens of thousands of people waited in long lines — often for hours on end — to cast their ballots.
Social media was abuzz with videos and photos of snaking voting lines outside polling places across the state.
At Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, the voting line stretched across multiple blocks — and, according to The New York Times, more than 750 people were still in line after polls officially closed on Saturday.
— Mariya Abedi (@msabedi) October 24, 2020
One of the voters in the line, Emmanuel Vazquez, 25, told the paper that he’d waited for three hours to cast his ballot.
“I’m tired, I’m hungry and I want to go home,” Vazquez said. “But I’m just thinking about how worth it this will feel in a few weeks. And that’s keeping me alive right now.”
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New Yorkers, many clad in face masks and some socially distanced, are seen waiting in long lines to cast their early ballots on the first day of in-person voting for the 2020 election. https://t.co/xTP2bjVCaL pic.twitter.com/oQBOa2cyvE
— ABC News (@ABC) October 24, 2020
SPED UP VIDEO: Long lines span city blocks for early in-person voting in Jackson Heights, Queens. pic.twitter.com/HsLBXCAdKf
— The Hill (@thehill) October 24, 2020
New Yorkers jammed polling places and stood in line for hours to cast ballots on the state’s first day of early voting, rushing to record their choices 10 days ahead of the Nov. 3 election https://t.co/YSBUxaSOSJ pic.twitter.com/ZMdsXxFExc
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 24, 2020
THANK YOU to the artists, musicians, snack and lawn chair providers, and everyday cheerleaders sustaining people’s spirits as they wait at the polls.
No voting line should ever be hours long, but we will overcome injustice and overwhelm the polls. #VoteEarly #MakeItCount 🗳 https://t.co/goUfvPClpL
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 24, 2020
— Leta Hong Fincher Voted Early (@LetaHong) October 24, 2020
My 85 year old mom just sent me a photo from NYC where she has been waiting in line for 4 hours (!) to vote.
We need to fix this.
(And my mom rocks!) pic.twitter.com/JXYRmBcooG
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) October 24, 2020
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) October 24, 2020
First day of early voting in New York. Hundreds of people lined up around two blocks to cast their vote at Robert Wagner Middle School on 75th and 2nd on the Upper East Side. Police on-site say the current waiting time is 3 hours. pic.twitter.com/m72XS7LY5k
— Marie Schulte-Bockum (@marieschubo) October 24, 2020
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) October 24, 2020
This is Brooklyn. Lines are double wrapped for 6 blocks. Literally thousands of people in line for a hand full of voting machines. This is the only early voting location for TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. This is disgusting. This is voter suppression. This is what we’re up against. pic.twitter.com/QxKQbf0IrR
— Ben O'Keefe (he/him) (@benjaminokeefe) October 24, 2020
Some New Yorkers criticized the long lines and the apparent lack of adequate infrastructure to handle the onslaught of early voters. The Times reported that some polling centers in New York City had issues with malfunctioning polling machines on Saturday.
Still, many New York voters said they were undeterred by the long wait times. In New York City alone, more than 80,000 votes were cast on Saturday, the city’s Board of Elections said.
“Given this year and given the current president we need to send a clear message that his policies don’t work, that they’re offensive, that they don’t represent American values,” Vanessa Reilly, a 38-year-old Brooklynite who waited in line to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, told Reuters.
Early voters in several other states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Alabama, also showed up in droves to cast their ballots on Saturday.
Already, more than 56 million Americans across the country have cast early ballots either in person or by mail. At this rate, the U.S. could see the highest voter turnout rate since 1908, Reuters noted, citing data from the U.S. Elections Project.
Alabama, where early voting in the form of no-excuse in-person absentee voting is happening for the first time, had long lines despite pouring rain for 9-1 Saturday voting today. There were over 100 people in line in Bessemer who were able to stay & vote when they shut down at 1. pic.twitter.com/yqtLhMXBQR
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) October 24, 2020
ALABAMA: Voters in the state that gave birth to the Voting Rights Act are turning out for in person absentee voting (now thru 10/29)
Because of the #SCOTUS some voters may be in line b/c curbside voting is no longer an option. #VoteEarlyDay 866-OUR-VOTEpic.twitter.com/uxEFXBGdS3
— Kristen Clarke 866-OUR-VOTE (@KristenClarkeJD) October 24, 2020
The early voting line at Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is currently wrapped beyond I-90 bridge touching campus of CSU. pic.twitter.com/aNDHgWCGFG
— Maia Belay (@MaiaBelay_FOX8) October 24, 2020
by the way: this is the ONLY early voting location in Cuyahoga County (which holds Cleveland) and has a population of about 1.2 million people over 400+ square miles #VoteEarlyDay #vote https://t.co/8vVPrZKZpz
— Homa Bash (@HomaBashWEWS) October 24, 2020
WATCH: Video shows long lines for early voting in Philadelphia. pic.twitter.com/RBJWCw9pE6
— The Hill (@thehill) October 24, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.