Long lines to vote in Minnesota: Reports from the field

Categories: Elections

We've been told over and over that this election will be one of the most important of our time, and apparently, we listened. Many voting lines across the Twin Cities today were long -- some taking up to two hours to get through. Others were long but moved fast, and some polling places reported no lines at all. The City Pages staff all went out to vote this morning and reported on their experience.

I voted at St. Helena Catholic Church (3201 43RD ST E). I arrived at 11:30 and it took about 45 minutes to get a ballot. The line wound through the basement and also down the side of the building outside. Election judges said some people earlier this morning had to wait 1 hour, 45 minutes to vote. By the time I left, the line was about half the length, but election judges expect it to get busy again in the next couple hours as people get home from work. -- Emily Kaiser

My line to vote in Linden Hills (43rd and Xerxes) was about two hours long at 7:30 this morning (see pictures below). At 9:30, it dwindled to about half that but was still enough to make people late for work. A grumpy man in line kept telling election judges they "should have opened at 6 a.m." -- Jen Boyles

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Voted at Painters' Park (34th and Lyndale). I got in line a little before 8 and was out around 9:40ish... The line was still around the building and down the street when I left. --Jessica Armbruster

Voted at Jefferson Community School at 26th and Hennepin. Long lines, but moving fast. Got in at 9:25, got out by 10:00. -- Quinton Skinner

I voted at Immanuel Lutheran Church (104 Snelling Ave) in St. Paul. It looked like most people had gotten there early to vote, because when I showed up at 9 a.m., there wasn't a line. But they did have an excellent system in place for handling a huge turnout: the voting booths were in the basement, but the registration table was on the ground floor, so they asked everybody as they walked in the door if there registered or not, and split them up immediately to avoid confusion and unnecessary lines. I saw a couple of things that made me curious though: There were people on the corner of Goodrich and Snelling with signs for the Vote Yes campaign. But there wasn't a sign marking the 100-foot boundary (the minimum distance campaigners need to be from a polling place). And that got me thinking about the house next door from the church. It had an Obama sign in the yard and, being that it is next door to the polling place, was clearly less than 100 feet away. I wondered if there is a part of that law that exempts residences near polling places from the distance requirement. --Ben Palosaari

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I voted at Kellogg Square in downtown St. Paul about 9:30 AM. It wasn't too crowded and the whole process took maybe 10 minutes, but word was that lines were pretty long about an hour previous. Not sure how many residential voters are in that particular district, but it was definitely busier than the last two times I voted there. -- Nate Patrin

I voted in St. Paul's Summit Hill neighborhood, about a block away from the governor's mansion. It was 8:40, and I expected lines as commuters stopped on their way into work. The place was virtually empty. Maybe 10 voters, no waiting. --Matt Smith

My polling place was Hayes and 29th in NE Mpls. Ten minutes at 8:45. The one by my house, Pierce and 29th had people lined outside a half block long for hours. --Mike Kooiman

Things were better in the afternoon.

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