Our Pledge To You

News

The election where #cantvotechicago became a thing

How long would you wait in line to vote? For some unlucky Chicago residents wanting to take part in Tuesday’s midterm election, that wait extended into early Wednesday morning. And #cantvotechicago was born on Twitter.

The problem was at 69 W. Washington and officials said the delays stemmed from same-day voter registration.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel showed up to shake hands. One guy played a ukulele. And one person, reportedly tired of waiting in line, opened up a window and climbed out.

A 24-year-old voter named Samantha — she asked that her last name not be used — said she arrived at Welles Park to vote at 5 p.m. and finally was able to register and cast her ballot at 1:45 a.m.

“The most upsetting thing was that as it got closer to midnight, and results were being announced, people started leaving . . . so many people just didn’t vote.”

“I think that what we all noticed was that there just wasn’t enough staff on hand,” said Samantha, an advertising copywriter who lives in Ravenswood. “The people who were working were great, but there just weren’t enough of them.”

“I’m young and have flexible work hours, so I could wait it out, but a lot of people just couldn’t stay in line for eight hours.”

Emanuel’s stopping by about 10 p.m. didn’t hasten a resolution to voters’ frustrations. 

“I think he just wanted to say, ‘Hi,’” she said.

Contributing: Diana Novak