We Ask Area Voters: How Long Did You Wait in Line at the Polls?

Most waits were long, but at least the weather obliged.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

Fortunately for Washington-area voters, the region is enjoying dry, sunny weather this election day, making it cold but otherwise not too miserable for people having to stand in long lines at polling places. We surveyed our readers for a sampling of waiting times and got responses from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and as far away as St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. The typical wait time reported to us was two hours, though we heard “less than 15 minutes” from a reader in Alexandria. At the other extreme was, “I waited three hours to vote early in Columbia Heights.” A tweeter from Crystal City, Virginia, wrote, “2 hours so far—I’m still waiting.” From Fort Washington, Maryland, we heard “nearly 2hrs.”

The weather was an issue for some, but not a deterrent: “2:45 mins & it was freezing but I wasn’t leaving until I voted,” wrote Stephanie Ferguson. An Arlington voter said “a little over two hours—half outside, half inside.” From another Arlington reader: “an hour in Arlington and well worth it.” In DC: “2hours10m @oyster elementary on Calvert St.” Lynette Williams wanted us to know: “I waited 2 hrs, 15 min. in Upper Marlboro (Frederick Douglass High School). Loved every second of it!”

Among our own staff, Melissa Romero reported, “two hours at Central Library in Ballston, starting at 6:30 AM. One hour outside, one hour inside.” Brrrrr. Sarah Zlotnick said, “just over 90 mins in Ward 2 at the church at 15th and M. Got in line at 8:30.” Back at the office, she said her feet were still thawing out. 

Former DC mayor and current city council member Marion Barry Jr. was not happy with the long wait times and assigned blame: "Waiting in 2-3-4 hour lines to vote is unacceptable! The DC Board of Elections was not prepared," Barry tweeted.

There were sporadic reports of polling problems. WTOP radio reported “voters at some Virginia polling places” contacted them with accounts of difficulty casting ballots, ranging from broken voting machines to not enough voting machines or paper ballots.

Polls remain open until 8 PM in DC and Maryland and until 7 PM in Virginia.