Updated 8 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016
Polls in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are now closed. Voters turned out in near-record numbers today throughout the Delaware Valley. We will continue monitoring polling places in all parts of the region throughout the day and bring you updates.
High turnout expected
Pennsylvania’s secretary of state predicted voter turnout could top 80 percent.
Secretary Pedro Cortes has served from 2003 to 2010 under former Gov. Ed Rendell and since last year under Gov. Tom Wolf, both Democrats.
Cortes says the highest voter turnout since 1980 was in 1992, when 83 percent of Pennsylvania voters cast ballots in an election headlined by Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican President George Bush.
Today’s general election pitting Republican Donald Trump against Democrat Hillary Clinton will be the 19th overseen by Cortes, counting primary elections and non-presidential elections.
Cortes also downplays concerns over voter fraud, saying: “I will never claim that elections in Pennsylvania or anywhere else are perfect, but they’re legitimate.”
Cortes expects about 7 million of Pennsylvania’s 8.7 million registered voters to participate.
Voters have their say
Lamei Zhang, 22, was helping voters in Chinatown figure out where and how to vote, staffing a table at 10th & Spring for the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corp. Most of the people who needed help are older residents who speak Cantonese or Mandarin, she said.
“Their questions are mostly ‘Oh, can I vote?'” she said. “Then you have to ask them ‘Are you citizen?’ and ‘Are you registered?'”
Many were discouraged by the long lines at polling places in the morning because they had to get to work, Zhang added.
Holly Munson is a Clinton supporter who came to her polling place at Guerin Recreation Center in South Philadelphia to find it covered with Trump signs and little Democratic signage. So she rushed home and hand-made a bunch of signs for Hillary Clinton herself.
“I have a lot of friends who, even though they don’t support Trump, they have a hard time warming up to Hillary,” she said. “So I recently posted on my personal blog about how I’m not just voting for Hillary because I don’t like Trump, which most people agree on. I truly love her, and I believe she does stand for love rather than hate. And I wanted to express that love with glitter and paint.”
In Bucks County, Neil Clabbers voted a straight Republican ticket.
“It was an acrid few months that we had,” he said. “It’s unfortunate how it has to go in that direction. And I hope in the next election we have a more reasonable process where peopl ecan be better to each other.”
Lindy Jones, also in Bucks County, voted for Democrat Steve Santarsiero over Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District race.
“I honestly feel like he’ll do a good job,” Jones said. “I mean, there’s been a lot of smear ads about him but I voted for him anyway. But they were good smear ads. We really enjoyed watching the Fitzpatrick ads but ended up voting for Santarsiero anyway. “
Linda Marie Bell, voting in Northwest Philly, supports the Trump-Pence ticket. She sees the issue of who selects the next Supreme Court justice as critical.
“One has to vote for life, for the Supreme Court, for the continuance of justices who uphold the law, don’t make the law,” she said.
Bell said she does not have a Trump-Pence sign in front of her house, because they get stolen in her neighborhood.
Attorney Crystal Lacey, who is African American, said she makes sure to vote because “people died for me to have a right to vote. “
She supports Hillary Clinton.
“Clearly it’s Hillary, she said. “She aligns with my ideas. And I just don’t think Trump is good for this country.”
That said, Lacey points out that her viewpoints don’t always align exactly with her candidate. She says some of her views — for instance, that religion should be integrated more in public schools — align better with Republicans.
Mindy Lopez, the judge of elections for Ward 19, Division 7, credited Clinton with spiking voter turnout.
“It’s because a woman is running so they are more excited for that.” said Lopez, from the polling place at the Education & Training Center for the Latino community organization Congreso in North Philadelphia. “They want a woman to win president for the first time. A lot of people don’t want to vote for him because of what he said about the woman being a pig.”
Catherine Muns, an attorney from Philadelphia, said she’s supporting Hillary Clinton but her boyfriend is voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. She said that split didn’t make their relationship too contentious during the run-up to Election Day.
“No, I think it’s nice to step outside of the echo chamber every once in a while. I don’t know. We just talk about so many different things. It’s nice to talk to somebody who thinks about things differently than you do.”
In East Oak Lane, 19-year-old Tiffany Brown voted for the first time and said she supported Hillary Clinton.
“People have their views on her, but honestly I think she’s a good person, well she seems like she is and I’m excited to vote for her,” she said. “I kind of wish I could have voted for President Obama, I mean I was too young. I’m happy I made a contribution to history, because she’s going to be our first woman president, so it’s exciting.”
For her part, 22-year old Shanese Ellison said she wanted “to do my civic duty, make sure things go the way I hope they would. But if they don’t I’ll just have to be understanding of this country’s democratic process.”