Voters deal with long lines at polls in New Haven - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campaign 2016

Voters deal with long lines at polls in New Haven

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People waiting in long lines in New Haven to vote on Election Day. (WFSB) People waiting in long lines in New Haven to vote on Election Day. (WFSB)

Dozens of residents in New Haven were unable to cast a ballot on Tuesday because they waited to register on Election Day.  

Plenty of people were frustrated, while others were in tears. But, election officials said these are the rules. People not only need to be registered by 8 p.m., bu that same person needs to be in line at their polling place. 

Inside New Haven City Hall, there was a line snaked around the upper level around 8 p.m. and all these people just waiting to register. With Tuesday being the first presidential election with same day registration in Connecticut, the Elm City expected a large turnout and even urged voters to register in advance.

However, plenty still waited until Election Day.

"I wanted to do something, so bad, very first time," Catherine Ayers, of New Haven, said. "We're a team, he was so patient, I brought an extra charger because my cell phone was about to die, I guess we learned our lesson.  Always be here early."

The city of New Haven even brought in more staff to process those registrations, but many told Eyewitness News they still waited in line for an hour and a half to two hours. Some, who showed up on Tuesday evening and saw the line, didn't even bother to stay, knowing time was already against them.

The city was hoping to avoid a similar situation from two years ago when roughly one hundred people were turned away on election day after they ran out of time to register.

On Tuesday night, once the clock struck 8 p.m., they had to let people know they wouldn't be to register or vote and had to head home.

"They said it's a 90 minute wait, so why stand in line for 90 minutes," Cheryl Brown, of New Haven, said. "I can't even vote anyway, I'll just do it for the next for years."

New Haven residents dealt with long lines to vote and register on Election Day on Tuesday morning.  

Voters told Eyewitness News they feel this is an important election for the direction of the country. According to one moderator, in all the years of working the polls, she's never seen a turnout like this.

People showed up early and got in line long before work to cast a ballot .

"This is really worth it,” Tom Hastings, of New Haven, said. "This is an important election."

With the presidential race at the top of the ticket, voters told Eyewitness News the wait was worth it.

"I think there is a big shift in what people want in a president and it depends on which way we're going to go, republican or democratic, it's a real shift in America,” Matthew Norton, of New Haven, said.

"I think today is a day for America to stand up and to be the America we want to be, a united America and people just working for one another,” Vera Esdaile, of New Haven, said.

The long lines weren't just at the polls. Inside New Haven City Hall, dozens of people were snaked around the second floor while waiting to register to vote on Election Day.

Over at New Haven's Edgewood School, Esdaile said Tuesday was what democracy is about.

"It’s important for everyone to vote, our vote is our voice. We can't stand on the sideline and complain about things if we don't get out to vote,” Esdaile said. “It's an important right that everyone has and everyone should exercise it."

According to one poll worker at New Haven's Edgewood School, plenty were voting on Tuesday.

"This is the longest line I've seen in all the years I've been working here at the Edgewood school polling place,” poll moderator Nancy Ahern said. “It's down the school corridor, around the corner and out into the street."

With the campaign over and Election Day down to just a few more hours, voters were setting their sights on what's next.

"I think that whoever loses should be the bigger person, congratulate the winner, because they both worked very hard,” Norton said.   

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