After two hours and 20 minutes waiting in line outside New Haven’s Hall of Records Tuesday morning, Myles Alderman finally got a chance to say his name and then cast a vote for the next president of the United States.
Alderman began the morning outside the downtown building, around the corner from Orange Street down at the Webster Bank branch on Elm Street.
Lines formed early at polls throughout town, with voters waiting up to an hour, mirroring a heavy reported turnout statewide, according to Democratic Town Chair Vincent Mauro Jr.
But at Ward 7 in the Hall of Records, it was bedlam.
A call went out to the secretary of the state’s office not long after the polling place opened — which happened right at 6 a.m. for the commencement of voting rather than earlier, as is the custom, because the moderator had not yet shown up.
By 9 a.m., the mayor’s office had sent legislative liaison Rick Melita, the registrar of voters had sent a second moderator, Maritza Gant, and enough other extra bodies had arrived to allow moderator George Carter to divide the swarm inside the building into two lines.
Alderman took the wait in stride.
“I would have preferred” a shorter wait, he said. “But so many people have given up so much more” to earn the right to vote.
Veronica Galvin, a Yale graduate student right behind him in line, was in equally strong spirits after the long wait. “I want to participate in what happens over the next four to years in this country,” she said.
The secretary of the state’s office and the New Haven mayor’s office had already anticipated problems on Election Day, but with Election Day registration. Reinforcements had already been sent in to try to avoid a repeat of the fiasco in 2014, where 100 people never got to register and vote because of understaffing. (Read about that here and here.) Reached for comment Tuesday morning, Democratic Registrar of Voters Shannel Evans said she was too busy to comment.
Secretary of the state spokesman Patrick Gallahue said that early reports had lines longer at some New Haven polling places than elsewhere in Connecticut.
“There were issues with lines. The secretary of the state’s office has provided advice on how to structure the line in order to expedite the process and to add more staff,” he said.
Over at Ward 25 in Westville, the line of voters extended outside Edgewood School to Yale Avenue. But waits didn’t exceed an hour.
This story was originally published by the New Haven Independent.