As Marlene Mills-Richardson walked out of Overbrook Elementary School [two miles directly north of the MOVE house bombed by Philadelphia police in May 1985 -mw], having just voted, she felt overwhelmed.
The line outside a satellite elections office in the West Philadelphia neighborhood Monday afternoon was even longer than it had been three hours earlier. That’s when she had arrived at the school, about 11 a.m., with her blue folding chair.
While she decried long lines outside Overbrook and elsewhere for early voting in the United States, Mills-Richardson, 70, was grateful her fellow Philadelphians were committed to making their voices heard.
Philadelphia voters said Monday that they were eager to cast their ballots and for the 2020 election to be over — and determined to make sure their vote counts.
Connie Hsu, 18, a University of Pennsylvania freshman, waited with two other college students for an hour and a half at City Hall before they were told to get on a free shuttle to Julia de Burgos Elementary School in North Philadelphia, because the line at City Hall would take four hours.
Outside the elementary school, they waited more than an hour in a line of about 75 people before they got in. They all said they were excited to vote in one of the states expected to determine the winner.
“If I voted in my state, it wouldn’t have meant that much,” said Hsu, a Tennessee native who is registered in Pennsylvania.
Carol Kilgore, 64, said she requested a mail ballot twice, before deciding to go ahead and line up at 8:30 a.m. “I just want to vote and get it over with,” she said. “The stress involved is too much.”
There was also some confusion about where people could vote. Ann Cherry, 64, said she’d started at 7 a.m., driving around to three places that had been traditional polling places in the past before she finally made it to Tilden.
“It’s a lot of turmoil,” she said of the election. “I want to make my vote count.”
Frank Price, 69, a former police officer from Wynnefield, tapped his feet to Gospel music as he waited. As a person who is partially handicapped and uses a motorized wheelchair, he said voting on Election Day would be even more difficult for him than Monday’s long wait.
“I know on Nov. 3, it’s going to be so mammothly crowded,” said Price, who was about halfway through the line and had already waited nearly an hour and a half.
As a Marine, he said it’s ingrained in him to always respect the commander-in-chief, but he doesn’t think Trump is fit for the job. Like most in line, he was waiting to vote for Biden.
Trump, he said, is “not a good president. If he wins again, it’ll be devastating.”