Presidential Election 2016
PHILADELPHIA – The lines to vote in this battleground state are so long that Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, was late to lead his own town hall voter rally.
It took him an hour to vote, he said.
In Philadelphia, long lines formed outside many polling places, this morning. A local news station reported 100 people were waiting in line before the local voting precinct in the Philadelphia suburb Montgomery County opened.
Everett Staten, a registered Democrat, said he was shocked by the unusual length of lines at his polling place in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia. Staten arrived early, he said, just 10 minutes after the polls opened. It usually takes just 10 minutes to cast his ballot, he said. Today, it took three times that long.
“I exited the voting booth at 7:42 am, as the 29th voter of the day in my division,” he said. “Two other divisions use the same location to vote, and all three respective lines were longer than usual.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees joined Nicholas and his union members for their rally to get out the vote.
Kenney and Nicholas urged the crowd that gathered at the union hall in downtown to not be deterred by long lines and long wait times and to help others who are trying to vote today.
“We’re fired up and ready to vote,” the crowd chanted.
Nicholas said Philadelphia’s Democratic voters are playing “catch-up” in what he expects to be the largest voting turnout in history. He said his group must go out and counter white male sexism.
“In the primary election, 113,000 white men changed their voter registration to give Trump the largest vote in the history of Pennsylvania,” he said. “Why? Because they didn’t want a woman to be the boss.”
” People are trying to get to polls before they go to work today.”
Nicholas also said the people he represents are concerned about the current and future vacant seats in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, is once again a battleground state. Though it tends to elect Republican governors and mayors, the state has voted for Democrats in the past six presidential elections.
While most of the state’s rural population is white and Republican, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have sizable African American populations and vote Democratic. The suburbs surrounding the two major cities, particularly Philadelphia, is what could swing the polls, experts say.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump campaigned in the state on the eve of Election Day.
Clinton held a rally Monday night on Independence Mall that attracted 33,000 people. She was joined by President Barack Obama and first Lady Michelle Obama. Rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi performed.
According to Real Clear Politics, Clinton has a narrow margin in Pennsylvania.
Trump was in Scranton, where he promised miners, steel workers and factory workers that he will bring the company’s back.
Election officials here are keeping their eye out for voter intimidation.
The New York Times reported tweets by Trump advisor and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani claiming voting fraud will take place in Pennsylvania.
According to the Times, Giuliani tweeted that Democrats will pay people in Philadelphia to vote “four or five times” and that Democrats were busing people in people from out of state to cast ballots using the names of the deceased.